Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Guardianship Question for other Family Members


Posted by Myson24 in the other forums - I’m moving it here for more exposure: Please respond if you have ideas that might help.

Hello, My son is 24 years old and is bipolar/schzo. He is noncompliant with treatment and has been very delusional. He has been hospitalized twice( against his will). I am wondering has anyone gotten guardianship of an adult child? What’s the process? We live in GA. Bty: I tried to put this topic in Family, but it wouldn’t let me


I have guardianship of my adult son. Unlike some others, it was not a difficult process. I applied thru the county, the county provided counsel for both myself and my son. My son never met with his, which probably made the process easier, since it indicated that he was not able to conduct his own affairs. He also didn’t attend any of the hearings. I did not discuss the process with him, as he was psychotic and explosive at the time. I was first granted 6 months ‘ad litem’, then there was another hearing for full guardianship.


@Vallpen, Thank you very much for the info.
We just had to do a 10-13 on our son on this morning. He has been off his med for 2 months. We cannot get him to go to the doctor. He says that he is not sick and he don’t need help. I walked into his room and found a knife on his floor by his bed. He said he don’t know how it gotten there. He said he didn’t have it, but we were the only ones at home because my husband and daughter was at work. I was told by the probate clerk here in the county that I live. It could be hard to get guardianship over him without hard proof. I try to get him on video when he is pyscitic but he gets mad and angry. I have plenty off recording of him when he’s delusional and laughing and talking to himself. He was just diagnosed in Sept of 2015. We don’t know what to do. We just feel so hopeless. :cry:


I applied to be my son’s guardian in 2007 and while the judge agreed he needed a guardian, she decided it should be a lawyer rather than me. She stated that it would ruin my relationship with him… so it doesn’t always come out the way you’d hope (would’ve been better and cheaper if I had been appointed his guardian).

The good news is he really needed a guardian and she’s been mostly great.


I had been waiting for something to happen in order to get my son in for his first 72 hour hold. He was at a Starbucks where they served him two Venti-sized espressos (equivalent to about fifty shots of espresso). He started gently tapping his head against a wall and someone called the fire department. They called me ( I was on my way to pick him up- had no idea this was happening) and I told the fireman about his bizarre behavior. They took him to the hospital and a doctor determined that he should be hospitalized. That was three hospital stays ago.

During his third stay, at a different hospital, the doctor told me we needed to get him a depot ( court ordered injection) and we went through the courts. During this time, I got a letter from the doctor stating he was “gravely disabled” (the key words needed to get things moving in this state) and we all had to talk to the judge. My son had a tough time trying to explain why he refused to take showers (paranoid of chemicals in the water) and the judge could easily see he was delusional.

I’m in the very slow process of gaining guardianship now - long story, but it needs to be done for the next time something happens. Better to be proactive.

It’s tough. You’re not alone….hang in there.


Yes, My adult son needs a guardian for him as well… to make treatment decisions for him because he doesn’t know wants best for him because he’s ill and he thinks he doesn’t need any help. This is so hard for parents who have Adult mental ill children. This is all new to us. God bless us all…


I am very sorry to hear that about your son, but I am very glad you were able to get him the shots and help that he needs. Do you live in Ga? That is what my son need because he will not go to the doctor to get his meds. He only get his Meds when we do a court order to send him to a hospital. He will take the medicine, but once the medicine is gone…he will not go to a doctor to get refills. …He doesn’t have a regular psychologist or psychiatrist because he want go to see one. Can I get the psychiatrist at this hosptial he’s at now to write a letter? This will be his 2 time at this hospital…But his 3rd time being hospitalized all together


Take a look at #14-on -



Ok, Thanks you very much.

Have you ever heard of the Georgia Advance Directive For Health Care? If so, How does it work for families who has a Adult child in the hospital?


I understand advanced directives to be directions given by the patient in the event they can no longer care for themselves. More or less advocating the rights of the aging and ill. What you’re looking for is guardianship. Many times, doctors won’t reach out to the parents of the adult children because of legalities. But in my experience, if you start making it known that your son has a support system then the doctors will be more inclined to reach out. They want their patients to get better but often times there is no support once they leave the hospital - hence the “revolving door” cycle.

He’s in the hospital now so it’s time to reach out and don’t be ignored. If you make enough noise, they’ll listen.



Yes, My son has a great support system. It’s only my husband, daughter and myself. We have been trying everything to try and get and keep him in treatment, but he refuse any help. He’s doesn’t have any income, so we pretty much buy him everything that he needs and most of his wants. He doesn’t want much only cigarettes that he just started smoking on last year. I can’t get him to go and apply for SSI, so we are doing the best we can, but it’s hurting us. He’s at a hospital I don’t really like. This is a hospital that most of the staff is very rude and will rush the family off of the phones. I explain to them that I know they can’t speak to me because of the Hipaa laws, but they can listen to want we have to say on what we’re seeing in our home and his symptoms.

Thank you very much Holly! You have been a great help. I will be praying for your family


Some of these hospitals will help the young adults start paperwork on the SSI while they’re hospitalized. Don’t be afraid to go over some heads. My son wouldn’t eat during his first hospitalization because of his paranoia of processed foods and meat. I called NAMI and talked to a woman who said the Director of the hospital was also on the board of NAMI. She made a call and the Director called me apologized and took my son rice and peanut butter that same day. Things changed after that.

NAMI is pretty tight with the local behavioral hospitals. Look at the biggest contributors to NAMI, always the hospitals.

You’re very welcome and I will be praying for you as well.



As you see by other replies, getting guardianship is not always smooth sailing.

It does affect the relationship between a parent and an adult child, but my son has over time come to accept my assistance rather than resent it.

Videos of him laughing and talking will not help your case - simply being psychotic will not prove that he needs guardianship. You need to show proof that he is unable to manage his affairs, and cannot make decisions that will keep him and others safe. Keep records of those kinds of behaviors and solicit help from others who may have observed potentially harmful behavior.

My son had had multiple interactions with CIT officers over a 2 year period, who were able to describe behaviors and situations he had been in that could be a danger to himself. I requested assistance from concerned community members, such as clerks at the grocery store he went to, to provide written description of his behaviors there, emphasizing that they be very specific in how they felt the behaviors could be dangerous - such as speaking explosively to strangers, standing in the street yelling with cars going around him, or dashing in front of a bus. I also had the support of his psychiatrist, also with a letter describing him as gravely disabled. My son was already determined to be disabled by social security and was receiving SSI.

It all feels horrible. It is not what you want for your adult child. The last thing the judge asked me in the court hearing was, 'If your son’s condition improves to the point where he can manage his own affairs, would you give guardianship back?" My answer was, “I live and hope for that day!”


I think its also worth mentioning that guardianship gives you the ability to make medical decisions on behalf of your loved one and participate in his care, but it will not convince him that he is sick and it will not make him be med compliant. You will find yourself making some pretty difficult decisions.


@Vallpen Thank you very much. All of the information that you and @Holly67 has given to me has really helped. As I said before, My family is very new to this diagnosed. My son is still in the hospital. He is refusing medication. He’s delusional and his thoughts are all over the place. I talked with a nurse on this morning and she told me that he took his Meds on last night, but wouldn’t take it this morning and She said " couldn’t force him". I haven’t talked with a case worker as of yet because of the weekend. My son told me that his doctor said he was coming home in 5 days, but I really don’t know. I will keep everyone updated.


Please do. Yes, I can remember the weekends slowing things down. Between the reception desk staff, the case workers, nurses, doctors, and business (insurance) staff, I felt like I was always getting “passed” onto someone else. They kept my son longer because he wouldn’t contribute/attend group sessions. Is he allowing you to visit?


Yes, We could’ve visit him on today, but we didn’t because I was burnt out from crying. His visitation hour was from 6 pm to 7 on today. We took him some clothes and personal item up there around 11 o’clock this morning. We didn’t want to make the drive back up there at 6pm for the visitation. Do you think we should’ve went back to see him?


Please read and share with anyone who has family members with schizophrenia. There is hope for your son.


The good news is as his guardian, HIPAA becomes less of an issue and you can be part of the treatment decisions.


The last paragraph of this long quotation pulled from the article states one of the limitations of guardianship:

"Families can try, pre-emptively, to arrange a HIPAA release or prepare a durable power of attorney for health care purposes with their family member.

"But that can be hard too, estate planning lawyer Kirsten Schroeder Larsen said.

"‘It is very hard for people to give up control, even if intellectually they know the time may come that they need it,’ she said.

"Ideally, such releases can be arranged between parents and as the child is turning 18 — to prepare for any unexpected health crisis that could come, she said.

“When it is too far along, as with Melinda, where no cooperation is possible, the alternative is seeking guardianship. It is an expensive, potentially combative route, the lawyer said. It would allow sharing of information and it would lend opportunities to choose doctors or facilities, but it is just as powerless to compel treatment on someone who refuses it.”

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