gig workers and divorce

What the Rise in the Gig Economy Means for Divorce

Everyone seems to have a side hustle nowadays. Even people with stable careers can often be found doing DoorDash on weekends, driving for Uber, or renting out their spare bedroom on Airbnb.

There are lots of benefits of gig jobs—they are flexible with your schedule, give you some freedom over your income, and may help you out in a pinch when your normal income doesn’t quite cover your expenses. However, gig work can also have a significant impact on your divorce case.

Wondering how your or your spouse’s gig work will affect your split? Let’s talk. Call Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short at 334-560-1936 to set up a time to meet.

Why the Gig Economy is Taking Off

The gig economy has been around as long as traditional work has, but it really hit the mainstream during the COVID-19 pandemic. When people found themselves unexpectedly laid off, gig work gave them the freedom to stay at home with their e-learning children and still pay their bills.

Even though the worst of the pandemic has subsided, gig work continues to be incredibly popular. Some use it to supplement their day job, while others rely solely on gig work for their income. As you might expect, any major shift in how people earn and spend money can shake up the world of divorce law. This remains true for the sudden increase in gig work.

What About Child Support and Alimony?

Set monthly payments can be brutal when your income is dependent on how many gigs you can pick up. Consider a Grubhub driver who decides to work during a snowstorm. Grubhub pays extra for completed gigs because of the uptick in orders, and they end up walking away with several hundred dollars.

Compare that to six months later, when the weather is nice and people don’t mind going out for their own food at night. Now, the same nights that once landed them $100 to $200 now barely hit $50. How can you plan your monthly bills on such fluctuating income?

This can make it incredibly difficult to calculate or keep up with alimony and child support. Imagine a professional who earns six figures and pays alimony based on that amount. Their industry crashes and they pick up gig work to make ends meet.

Since their alimony and child support is still based on their professional income, they are now working twice as hard and still not making ends meet. Requesting a modification is challenging, though, when your income isn’t stable.

Child Custody Can Get Complicated

Custody can also get complex when one or both parents take on gig work. Custody requires a set schedule, which takes away a lot of the flexibility that gig workers enjoy. A set custody schedule means no more picking up work on those nights when UberEats is offering a bonus for completed deliveries since you can’t deliver when your children are with you. A parent with a set schedule is unlikely to be willing to make massive changes to their own schedule to accommodate a parent who does gig work.

Don’t Forget Healthcare Arrangements

If one parent is ordered to pay for a child’s health insurance, what happens if they turn to gig work as their main source of income? Since they no longer have employer-provided healthcare, they may have to turn to the marketplace to get coverage for their child. This is often very expensive and may further complicate their finances.

All in all, the gig economy has had a tumultuous effect on the world of divorce law. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for gig workers to get a fair shake in a divorce. You will, however, need the help of an experienced and committed divorce attorney.

Your Next Step: Set Up a Consultation with Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short

If you’re ready to get started on your divorce, get the ball rolling with Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short. We’re focused on learning what you’re looking for in your divorce and finding a way to make it happen. Call us at 334-560-1936 or reach out online to set up a consultation.

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