22 Best way to Hire a Divorce Lawyer in Nigeria

Divorce Lawyer: Divorce can be complicated and emotionally fraught enough — hiring a divorce lawyer doesn’t need to add to that complication. If you do your research and interview prospective lawyers thoroughly, you can choose a lawyer who best suits your needs and can shepherd you through the process as smoothly as possible.

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Hire a Divorce Lawyer
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Hire a Divorce Lawyer

1. Decide whether you need an attorney.

Not all divorces necessarily need dueling attorneys and massive court battles. If you and your spouse have few assets and no children, you may be able to come to an agreement on your own.

  • Even in more complex cases, mediation can be viable alternative. Mediators work with both spouses to come to a sensible agreement that fulfills both of your needs. If you and your spouse are relatively amicable, mediation might work better for you.
  • If your spouse has already hired an attorney, you probably need to get one as well. This is especially true if you have complicated property or child custody issues to resolve.

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  • If your spouse is being dishonest or vindictive, you also should have an attorney to represent your best interests and protect your rights. Your attorney also acts as a shield, keeping your spouse from manipulating or deceiving you by communicating with you directly.
  • If your spouse is abusive, or if there are threats or issues with possible abuse, either of you or of your children, you should hire an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you are protected.

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Hire a Divorce Lawyer

2. Ask family and friends for recommendations.

If you have family or friends who live locally, consider asking them who they might recommend. Even if they don’t know family law attorneys, they may know other attorneys who could provide professional recommendations.

  • Remember that the attorney-client relationship is a close personal one, especially when dealing with a divorce case. Depending on the circumstances, even a recommendation from a friend or family member may not work for you.

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3. Research online.

There are many websites dedicated to helping people find attorneys. The Nigerian Bar Association’s Division for Legal Services is a good place to start. You can enter your city and state to find a list of resources and attorneys in your area.

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Hire a Divorce Lawyer

4. Find a family law attorney.

Certification requires years of experience, additional legal education and exams, and recommendations from colleagues and judges.

  • Board certification assures you that the attorney you hire is an expert with a good reputation in the legal community.
  • In addition to national certification, several states have their own board certification programs.

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5. Visit attorneys’ websites.

Once you have some possible attorneys’ names, find their individual or firm website and spend some time checking it out. Generally, the website should be easy to navigate, and all text should be understandable and free of errors in spelling or grammar.

  • Look for general information about divorce or family law, or blog posts about developments in family law. Specialists will stay informed in their area of law and have an interest in educating their clients and website visitors.
  • Be on the lookout for certain words indicating an attorney is biased towards a particular type of client. Some attorneys are gender specialists who advertise they only represent clients of one gender. For example, if an attorney’s website is titled “Dad’s Divorce Central,” you probably don’t want to hire that attorney unless you’re a father getting a divorce. However, keep in mind that even if you do fit that attorney’s niche, that sort of narrow, biased representation may not be the best direction for you.

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    6. Hire a Divorce Lawyer

Look for years of experience and any specialist designations or professional organizations listed on the attorney’s website. Don’t assume all professional organizations have the same degree of prestige, though. Some require little more than payment of membership dues, while others have high standards for membership. For example, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers has rigorous screening procedures and only admits highly qualified specialists.

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7. Hire a Divorce Lawyer

Review the attorney’s biography, background and work history. Take note of details that make the attorney seem relatable to you. You will be discussing a number of personal issues with this person, so it’s important that you feel comfortable and have a sense of connection with her.

8. Check bar records with your state bar association.

After you’ve narrowed down a list of attorneys, you should review their license and practice record before you call them.

  • Look up each attorney on your list and make sure they don’t have excessive formal complaints filed or any disciplinary action against them. For example, you wouldn’t want to hire an attorney if records revealed seven clients in the past year had complained that he never returned their phone calls. You also wouldn’t want to hire anyone whose license had been suspended for a violation of state bar rules.
  • The ABA has a directory of state and local bar associations. In some states, attorney licensing is administered by the state courts.

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9. Make an appointment with each of the attorneys on your list.

Ideally, you want to have at least three prospects. Although this can be a time-consuming process, resist the urge to simply hire the first attorney you meet.

  • Some may pay a fee, others may not. If your finances are tight, you may be inclined to favor attorneys who offer free consultations. Be aware that some of those attorneys may view the meeting as simply a sales pitch to persuade you to sign as a client.
  • A small consultation fee of $50 or less isn’t a bad thing, and can give you assurance that the attorney is adequately evaluating your case.

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Hire a Divorce Lawyer

10. Research and prepare for each appointment.

Your prospective attorneys will be more capable of assessing your case and their ability to help you if you are forthcoming with all relevant details of your marital and financial history.

  • Bring a detailed list of all assets, debts and sources of income. Compile copies of tax returns for the past several years, especially if you and your spouse filed jointly.
  • You might also consider drafting a narrative or outline of significant events in your marriage, such as the birth of children, job promotions, moves or home purchases.
  • If you were told to bring certain documentation or information with you, make sure you gather those things for each appointment.

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Hire a Divorce Lawyer

11. Ask questions.

You are hiring the lawyer, therefore each consultation is a job interview.

Treat it as such, and remember that you are the boss.

Don’t let an attorney or the trappings of a law office intimidate you.

Ask how long the attorney has been practicing family law.

Ideally you want someone who’s been practicing in your local area for at least three to five years.

This gives the attorney familiarity with local judges and attorneys, as well as how the court system operates.

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12. Find out how much of the attorney’s practice is devoted to divorce.

Ideally, you want an attorney who spends at least 50 percent of her time on divorce cases.

A general practitioner may be able to handle an uncomplicated divorce.

But if your divorce was uncomplicated, you probably wouldn’t need a lawyer.

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13. Hire a Divorce Lawyer

Keep in mind there are different kinds of specialists within family law as well. For example, if you and your spouse don’t have any children, you probably don’t need to hire an attorney who specializes in complex child custody issues.

14. Hire a Divorce Lawyer

Get an understanding of the attorney’s practice style and organization of the office. You need to know how quickly your phone calls or emails will be returned, how to contact your attorney in case of an emergency, how many assistants or other employees the attorney has and the role they’ll play in your case.

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15. Hire a Divorce Lawyer

Ask about the attorney’s overall strategy for your case. Although the details may change over time, depending on how the case progresses, the attorney should have a general idea of the process, how long it will take, and what the potential outcomes will be.

If you have complicated child custody issues, or significant assets and property to divide, ask the attorney how many similar cases he’s handled, his strategies and goals in those cases, and the ultimate outcomes.

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16. Observe the attorney’s demeanor and focus.

Particularly if you’re meeting the attorney in her office, you have an opportunity to observe her body language and relations with you and with her staff.

  • The attorney should be confident, and shouldn’t have any trouble answering any of your questions. Particularly if you have a complicated issue, it’s not a bad thing if the attorney says he needs to do more research before he gives you a definitive answer. However, be wary if the attorney hems and haws or seems hesitant or unsure.
  • When evaluating the attorney’s demeanor, keep in mind the style and behavior of your spouse’s lawyer. For example, if your spouse has hired a particularly aggressive attorney, a lawyer with a more collaborative focus may not do you much good.

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17.Hire a Divorce Lawyer

Pay attention to how the attorney interacts with staff members. Watch how staff members approach the attorney and whether their relationship seems more cooperative or authoritarian. If the staff seems happy working for an attorney and shows respect for her, you’ll probably feel more comfortable dealing with that office. If staff members are unhappy or antagonistic, it could result in poor quality representation bleeding over into your case.

18. Hire a Divorce Lawyer

When you’re asking questions, take note not only of what the lawyer’s answer is, but how she answers the questions. Is she open and engaged or hostile and dismissive? Mark questions she seems to favor or expand upon, as those may indicate areas in which she has the most expertise or feels most comfortable.

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19.Compare and contrast your prospects.

Don’t just hire the first attorney you interview. After each appointment, make a list of pros and cons for each attorney. Evaluate attributes according to their importance for you.

If at any time during an interview you felt uncomfortable or ill at ease with an attorney, that’s a red flag that you shouldn’t hire him, no matter what other factors weigh in his favor.

The overall stress and emotional toil of a divorce mean your comfort with your attorney is paramount. This person will be representing your interests, so the most important factor should be the attorney-client relationship.

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20. Consider cost in your decision.

Some attorneys will charge you a simple flat rate for a divorce, while others bill by the hour. The more complicated your divorce, the less likely you’ll be offered a flat rate.

  • Attorneys who plan to bill by the hour should have given you an estimate of total hours and costs and how much they expect as a retainer during your first consultation or soon afterward.
  • If you think you will struggle financially to pay an attorney, review how to hire a lawyer when you have low income.
  • If your spouse has more financial resources than you, you might consider requesting the court to order your spouse to pay your costs of the divorce.

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Hire a Divorce Lawyer

21. Let your first choice know as soon as possible.

Attorneys are busy, and good attorneys probably will be in high demand. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to hire an attorney with an opening to take your case.

  • Once you’ve hired an attorney, don’t forget to call any others you interviewed and tell them you’ve decided to go with someone else.

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22. Get details of the representation in writing.

Before your attorney starts work on your case, make sure you have a full understanding of the entire scope of the work to be done and how much it will cost. Your attorney should provide you with documents and written explanations of all deadlines and documents, a timeline of meetings and court hearings, and full contact information.

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