What the Rise in the Gig Economy Means for Divorce

The news is full of information on how work has changed in recent years, and it’s interspersed with tips on “making the most of your side hustle” and maximizing your earnings. This is the result of the gig economy taking hold in the United States, and it’s changed how we use services, work, and pay bills. It can change other aspects of our lives, too—including how we divorce.

If you’re considering divorce and you’re looking for the right attorney to take your case, it’s time to talk to the team at Olmstead & Olmstead. Give us a call at 703-361-1555 to set up a consultation now.

Why Has the Gig Economy Taken Off?

Gig work has always existed in some form, but it didn’t really reach its heyday until the COVID-19 pandemic. All of a sudden, people out of work were able to make ends meet by delivering food, driving people all over town, freelancing, or running errands for people. Once people realized the potential of gig work, many just decided not to go back to traditional employment.

Some gig workers make their full income on one platform, while others have multiple jobs going at one time to keep the money coming in. Despite the disadvantages, people enjoy the flexibility of the work and the potential to pick up more work when money is tight.

Gig Work is Notoriously Unreliable

What’s the main downside of gig work? It is known for being unreliable, which can make it hard to budget and pay bills. Consider, for example, driving for Uber or Lyft. A driver’s best hours are likely to be early in the morning and when work lets out for the day, as well as on weekend nights when people want to go out and drink.

However, in some areas, Uber and Lyft are flooded with drivers. This has left long-term drivers who built their businesses around this service without enough work to survive. The busy times can provide tons of income, but the lean periods can be long and unpredictable.

How This Affects Your Divorce

Money is one of the top issues in a divorce, so it’s no surprise that gig work can throw a wrench into your divorce plans. If one party does gig work in lieu of traditional work, calculating things like spousal support and child support can be incredibly difficult.

As an example, consider someone who bartends at events as a side gig on top of their regular nine-to-five job. During peak wedding season, they may make 75% of their entire annual income. Is child support for that part of their income based on what they earn at their lowest month, their highest month, or an average?

It becomes even more complicated if someone’s gig work is under the table. While platforms like Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and DoorDash all report income to the IRS, some jobs allow people to be paid cash. If someone is attempting to dodge spousal support or child support, this is the type of work they are likely to seek out. The person who is supposed to receive the support may feel stuck—how do they prove that their ex-partner is working and how much they’re earning?

How an Attorney Can Help

While these issues may seem overwhelming, they shouldn’t make your divorce impossible to navigate. This is one of the advantages of having an experienced divorce attorney.

Not only can they help you sort out these issues and explore your options, but they can also provide personalized guidance that will help you make the right choice for you and your children. Whether you are a gig worker, your ex does gig work, or you’re wondering how picking up side work could affect your spousal or child support payments, an attorney should be your next stop.

Contact Olmstead & Olmstead to Get Started

No matter where you are in the divorce process, the team at Olmstead & Olmstead is ready and waiting to talk to you. Bring us your hardest questions, your biggest worries, and your top priorities. We’ll come up with a plan that brings you peace of mind. Set up a consultation now by calling us at 703-361-1555 or sending us a message online.

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