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What the Rise in the Gig Economy Means for Divorce


Everyone does what they need to get by. In today’s economy, that means that more and more people are turning to gig work. While some people just do a few hours of gig work per week to bring in a little extra, others rely on it entirely for their income. If you or your spouse are gig workers, that may have a serious impact on your divorce.

Learn more about how gig work may affect your divorce, and when you’re ready to talk more about your family law needs, call John H. Ruby & Associates at 502-895-2626.

Marriage is Harder with Gig Work

Depending on your marriage and what type of gig work you and your spouse do, it could have a significant impact on your marriage. Money is one of the main causes of divorce, but bringing in more money with gig work often means spending less time with your family.

If your gig work limits your time with your family or forces your spouse to do all of the childrearing, you may find that it puts a significant strain on your marriage. Should divorce become your only option, know that gig work will make it more complex in many ways.

Child Custody is More Complicated

Figuring out a custody schedule can be an uphill battle in the best of situations. You may have two parents who want as much time as possible with their children, have stable work schedules, and want to be active participants in every part of their children’s lives. This type of setup makes it easier to create a set schedule that gives the child a sense of normalcy and routine.

What about when gig work enters the picture? Gig work is rarely a 9-5 job. A parent who does this kind of work may work a wide range of hours, including evenings, overnights, and weekends.

Some types of gig work are seasonal and require you to put in 70-80 hours per week during the busy season. How will that affect custody? Does the other parent put their obligations on hold to be the primary parent during that time, and do they get extra child support as a result? Is that lost time made up later on?

As you can see, any change in schedule can bring up multiple questions that can make custody deliberations drag on.

How Gig Work Affects Spousal Support and Child Support

Child custody is one difficult part of a divorce. Finances are the other challenging legal aspect of divorce. No one wants to pay more than they need to, but if one parent is entitled to child support and spousal support, they are equally committed to getting every dollar they deserve.

Calculating how much is owed is much harder when gig work is involved. Consider the earlier example of someone who does seasonal gig work. If they make 60% of their income during the two months leading up to Christmas, how do they pay that out to the receiving party? Is their income spread out over the year, and do they have to put money aside for the rest of the year?

You also have to think about what happens if the work dries up or becomes less consistent. This is always a possibility—think about the pandemic and how many people joined platforms like Doordash and UberEats. Overnight, established contractors on those apps found themselves fighting for a handful of jobs that they suddenly had to share with new contractors.

If your gig work is extremely inconsistent and income swings significantly from year to year, that may mean regular trips to court to get child support or spousal support recalculated. That, of course, is an entirely separate cost to think about and plan for.

The issues involved with gig work are major reasons why it makes sense to work with a seasoned family law attorney. An attorney who has in-depth knowledge of divorce-related issues like these can help you negotiate a creative solution with your spouse that is durable and will not require continual modifications.

Call John H. Ruby & Associates to Discuss Your Family Law Needs

Gig work certainly makes the already difficult process of divorce even more complex. That’s why it’s so important to have a legal team you trust handling your case for you. Let us advocate for you as you prepare for a fresh start. Fill out our online contact form or call us at 502-895-2626 to schedule your consultation now.