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Alimony, Child Support, and the Gig Economy

May 25, 2020

Entrepreneurship courses, especially those that operate on a multi-level marketing business model, might try to tell you that salaried jobs are for chumps, but experience says otherwise. If you can plan on getting paid X amount of money every month for the foreseeable future, even if it is a modest amount, you are one of the lucky ones. Gigs are a nice way to supplement your regular income, but an increasing number of Americans must rely on gigs for their entire income. It is possible to earn a living in the gig economy, but it is hard to make financial plans. What do you list as your income on a rental application or an application for a mortgage loan? Even worse, how does the court calculate your share of the marital property or your alimony or child support obligations if your job is a series of gigs, such that your income varies from one year to the next and this year’s income is not a good predictor of next year’s income? The family law attorneys at Iwanyshyn & Associates can help ensure that the equitable distribution of marital property in your divorce is truly equitable, even if your work pays based on gigs or projects instead of a predictable salary.

Imputed Income Isn’t Just for Deadbeats

Courts sometimes use imputed income as a basis for determining equitable distribution, alimony, and child support. Imputed income is hypothetical income that a person can earn or can be expected to earn. The courts impute income to spouses who are voluntarily unemployed or voluntarily underemployed, especially if the reason they choose not to work is so that they can pay less alimony or receive more alimony. Imputed income is useful in determining equitable distribution and other divorce-related financial matters for non-salaried workers. If you are self-employed or work in a profession where your income varies significantly from year to year (for example, as a restaurant server, rideshare driver, freelance writer, or wedding photographer), imputed income is the most reliable way to determine alimony and child support in your case. In that case, the court calculates your imputed income by averaging the income on the past several years of your tax returns.

Tough Times for Gig Economy Workers

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a serious economic blow to almost all Americans, but self-employed people and gig workers were among the first to feel its sting. If your gigs have dried up because of the pandemic (or if you were furloughed from a salaried job), and you are struggling to pay alimony or child support, you can request an order to modify your obligations, because of a change in circumstances. The new order can even apply retroactively, reducing your past-due child support obligations as soon as it is issued.

Iwanyshyn & Associates Helps Divorced Gig Workers

Hard-working and resourceful people in professions where the pay varies from one project or gig to the next deserve a fair and reasonable divorce settlement or child support order. Contact Iwanyshyn & Associates in Pittsburgh about child support cases.