CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) — Starting July 1, all parents in Virginia who strap their young kids in car seats will have to do it with them facing the rear, not the front, under a new law.
All kids riding in a car under the age of seven are already required to be in a child safety seat for their protection. The change in Virginia law is because recent studies suggest children are better protected when in the rear-facing seat. Albemarle County Fire Marshall Howard Lagomarsino says rear-facing seats make sense. ‘What they have found is that with the rear-facing, it better distributes crash forces to protect better the torso, head, and neck of the child and to prevent ejection of the child in the event of a crash,” he said.
The Virginia Department of Health advises children should ride in a rear-facing safety seat until the age of two or the child reaches the minimum weight limit for a forward-facing safety seat. Drivers can be fined if police find the child is not rear-facing. Child support laws exist to ensure that mothers and fathers support their children, even if they are not living with biological parents.
They do not require parents to be married to establish an award; only paternity or maternity must be proven for an obligation to be found. Once paternity is established, usually through a DNA test, courts follow state-mandated guidelines or court determinations in determining an award.
In child support actions, one parent is usually designated as the custodial parent and accorded the role of primary caregiver. The other parent, or non-custodial parent, is regarded by the laws as the non-custodial parent and remains obligated to pay a proportion of the costs involved in raising the child. In some joint custody cases, where the role of primary caregiver is split equally, laws may dictate that one parent continue to pay for support if there is a significant disparity in the two parents’ incomes.
Child laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and there are many approaches to determining the number of award payments. Many states consider several factors when determining support, such as the parents’ income, the number and ages of children living at home, necessary living expenses, and school costs. If the child has special needs, the laws may take costs involved with caring for these children’s exceptional situation into consideration.
They may provide earmarking of funds for specific items, such as school fees, daycare, or medical expenses. These laws serve to make custodial parents more accountable for the money they receive from non-custodial parents and ensure that they get what they need. For example, some jurisdictions may require parents to pay tuition fees directly to their child’s school rather than remitting money to the custodial parent.
Each parent may also be required to assume a percentage of expenses for various needs. For instance, in the U.S. state of Massachusetts, custodial parents are required to pay for the first $100 of annual uninsured medical costs incurred by each child before non-custodial parents are charged. Often, non-custodial parents may be required to add their children to their health insurance plans. This is done to reduce the number of children receiving public assistance.