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Child support and the rising gig economy

Contract work is making it easy for parents to avoid paying the necessary and court-ordered support payment to their children. It is causing problems for the parents who are trying to get paid as well as for state officials who are trying to collect it. Approximately 70 percent of child support money is collected through paycheck withholdings, but money earned by contractors cannot be captured if employers do not cooperate and disclose wages. In California, state officials have very few ways to make employers comply.

Child support is paid for a child's basic needs, and parameters are set by the court system when parents separate. About $114 billion in child support goes unpaid nationwide. Hiding income to avoid paying support is not new; it is merely an old problem resurfacing. Experts state that many self-employed people try to conceal their real income.

As the gig economy grows, there will be more interest in tracing this type of income. With more people freelancing and more contractors and retirees trying to supplement monthly income, the change in the economy is evident. People hide income for many reasons – not just to avoid or lower child support, but to avoid taxes and expand welfare and unemployment payments.

The percentage of workers who are freelancers or contractors is up from 10.1 percent in Feb. 2005 to 15.8 in late 2015. These numbers will continue to climb along with unpaid child support. In California, parents who are unable to collect support they are owed may benefit from contacting an attorney who is well versed in child support laws.

Source:, "Gig Economy Gives Child Support Scofflaws A Place To Hide", Jen Fifield, Dec. 1, 2017

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