Attorney says beginning of year means more looking to divorce

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COLUMBIA – Some new years resolutions take longer than others to tackle, including resolutions to get divorced. While Boone County data shows a large number of divorces finalized during the end of the year, one local attorney says most start the process now.

Tana Benner, an attorney at Columbia Family Law Group, has practiced family law in the area for almost six years. She said some try to get through the holiday season before taking the first steps toward divorce.

But Benner also said business really begins to pick up in February and March.

“I think it might be due to people having limited funds since they just had the holidays and are recovering from that. And additionally, a lot of people get their tax refunds later in February or March,” Benner said.

According to Benner, it’s not uncommon for divorce cases to take up to a year to complete. She said she usually tells clients to plan for six to eight months.

The deputy court administrator at the Boone County Courthouse gave KOMU-TV a report showing the number of divorce cases finalized in each month. In December 2015, judges completed 61 divorce cases. As of Friday morning, only 17 were complete in January.

Benner said while not a lot of cases begin in December, many end because clients often want to finalize their divorces before the end of the year for tax purposes.

“A lot of times there’s a lot of pressure for attorneys to try to get a lot of cases wrapped up before the beginning of the year,” Benner said.