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Parents who owe child support may hide income from gig work

An increasing percentage of San Jose residents and other Californians are working within the gig economy, which involves completing work via online platforms. This economy presents a problem when the gig workers owe child support because locating their income sources may be difficult.

Approximately 70 percent of child support payments are collected through income withholding from the employees' paychecks. When people who owe child support work in the gig economy as contractors, it is more difficult for states to discover. By the time that states catch up to the gig work, many of the workers have simply moved on and no longer work there. The companies themselves also do not always report that they have hired people to work as contractors to the various states.

California requires platforms such as Lyft and Uber to report newly hired contractors to the state. However, many of the companies simply do not comply with the rule. Across the country, the balance of unpaid child support has grown to $114 billion, and the amount continues to grow each year. States are reticent to come down hard on companies in the gig economy because they depend on employers for their help in child support collection.

Raising a child is expensive, and it is important for both parents to contribute financially to a child's upbringing. When parents who are owed child support believe that their children's other parents are working within the gig economy, they might need to get help from family law attorneys to uncover the hidden income. Lawyers might investigate by reviewing bank account statements and income tax statements to note any discrepancies. They may also look at the non-paying parents' social media accounts to see if they have posted anything about major purchases, vacations or other expenses that they should not be able to afford. Through investigations, attorneys may be able to help their clients to prove the non-paying parents' incomes and secure court orders.

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