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Handling a custody battle with a sociopath

Were you involved romantically with a sociopath? If so, you may now find yourself in a custody battle in which your own emotions can be used against you.

Sociopaths -- people essentially without a conscious or an ability to feel remorse -- make up to 5 percent of the general population. In general, because they are focused entirely around their own needs and disregard the feelings of others, they don't exactly make good parents.

But that won't stop one from fighting you for custody.

Experts suggest the following if you suspect (or know) that your child's parent is a sociopath:

1. Be willing to walk away from child support, the house, your friends or even the city in which you live if that will give the sociopath incentive to let you have custody.

Find out what the sociopath really wants (because it probably isn't the children) and use that as your bargaining chip. Does your ex want to be able to say that you were the one who was dumped? Does he or she simply not want to pay support? Agree to the terms, move out of state and cut your ties.

2. If that won't work, you need to assume that the sociopath is going to try to hurt you every way possible. Keep in mind that this is someone who doesn't feel guilt about lying -- to anyone.

Get yourself ready for a serious custody fight:

  • Document everything. Keep every email, letter and text you receive. Let your phone go to voicemail so you have a record of whatever your ex has to say. You may be able to trip him or her up in court later with what you have.
  • Never interact with him or her alone. Always try to have a witness -- preferably someone not related to you -- with you any time you have contact with the sociopath.
  • Remain calm on the surface at all times. You don't want the sociopath to have the ability to paint you as hysterical, reactionary or potentially mentally ill in front of the court. Plus, you won't give the sociopath a clue about what you are really thinking.
  • Consider asking the court for a guardian ad litem -- which is an advocate for your children.

This is a good time to get strong, solid legal advice about your custody case.

Source:, "10 tactics for child custody battles with sociopaths," Donna Andersen, accessed Dec. 15, 2017

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