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The gig economy makes collecting child support more difficult

The gig economy has created new challenges for Ohio parents and others who are trying to collect child support. Roughly 70 percent of support owed is collected by garnishing income from paychecks, but it can be difficult to determine if someone is working for Uber or another company as a contractor. Even if a person is discovered earning money as a contract worker, the company providing the income would need to cooperate with authorities.

Generally speaking, businesses are only required to report a person to a child support database if he or she is a part-time or full-time employee. There is no requirement to do so after hiring a contract or gig worker. Currently, there is $114 billion in unpaid child support owed to custodial parents, and the amount of unpaid support increases over time. There are roughly 2.5 million adults who perform gig work, and it is believed that this number will increase to roughly 5 million by 2020.

In some cases, the challenge for authorities lies in the fact that self-employed individuals have the opportunity to mask their earnings. However, it is also true that most people don't work for the same service provider for long periods of time. Therefore, even when they can track someone down, that person may be on to another job before enforcement actions can take place.

Child support payments can be used for paying health insurance, education and other necessary expenses for a child. Failing to make support payments can result in a parent facing jail time or other penalties. An attorney may help a custodial parent locate a noncustodial parent and take action to compel compliance with a support order. If necessary, parents who owe support can ask to have their current orders modified by a judge.

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