Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Months of indecision - Guardianship


I have been thinking of getting Guardianship of my 39 year old son. The last resource. I know what the pros are-but what are the cons???
Not to mention the fact that the system is making it hard to get it----and I`m pretty much worn out of 20+ years of this…I very much welcome any feedback from anyone who is diagnosed.


The affect it can have on your relationship with your son. He could be very resentful of your control.

The fact is, he will still be able to make choices you don’t agree with, and you still will not be able to force his hand if he really decides to do certain things. But you can keep him safe.

Hassles still abound - many service providers still make it difficult to get information and to coordinate care. I have had to say “Let me speak with the manager” many times in the last few years to get past the front line people in call centers.


Thank you:raised_hands:


i PAID one lawyer over $800.He wrongly believed we needed to have a Dr. agree or make a statement.We explored that several ways.One Dr. in the hospital consulted another MD to evaluate situation.they decided no need.Fact was these docs were not in on the ground game.They did not realize what happens in real world as far as being there with sz.-not their area in some ways.

I finally found attorney-female.she told me right up front that 1st we needed durable power of attorney papers drawn up.this led to obtaining records.It turned out our son was hospitalized when papers drawn up and he signed both DPOA papers & guardianship papers. (probably another $800).
The judge signed papers & there was no court for him to defend himself.Maybe because judge had seen son in court multiple times?
I often feel a little guilty that he did not get the court opportunity.Since then the guardianship has in some ways set me up to be scapegoat for also ineffective professionals ready to blame. Other cons are that some people pay attention to decision power of guardian & others do not. I have had no one try to make me pay any bills that are not mine. there is poor understanding (arkansas) as to what it is.I fax papers to hospitals,doctors & am able to talk with staff. I have a friend who plead & plead for help for her son for months.Ultimately,her son has been charged with murder.she was told they could help if she was his guardian.that is not true either.I filed 5 times to get help for our son last summer.I hired atty. last time & judge turned it down.they violate their own laws & get away with it. Getting back on topic ,guardianship has changed dialog at times. I know people who back away from guardianship due to affect of relationship to sz person. some get guardianship & then relinquish it. Good luck on making your decision.Of utmost priority is developing as good relationship as possible with providers of care. After they maliciously jailed my son . I found multiple falsehoods in medical records,I speak out more openly and saga continues. tough either way. I need other supports to keep me sane.Never easy! Our son is 33.I have had guardianship for essentially five yrs. Unfortunately my son’s illness keeps him from understanding some things. In some ways guardianship is “crazy making” in that I try to take control of things that are impossible & in truth we cannot truly understand when to stand back & when to try to intervene.
“Vallpen” says it well above.


yeah-I did talk to an attorney who has a son in the same position. He told me that he still cant force his son if he really doesnt want to do something.
I just wanted to get it so I could get info on doctors records-if he was keeping appmnts, etc…
Have the police take him to hospital if needed. I guess then you are forced with how to take action if he refuses!
I really want to focus on networking with the people around me, and my son. Maybe get a force together at some point to start protests on this.
My son has called the police himself so many times that a few are trying to build rapport with him. I met with a few and they have been incredible. I had a little meeting with a few of them on the street-I told them everything, and they said they would keep an eye on him.
I will no longer rely on “social services” in this area.


Sounds like it is the same all over. I think I have FINALLY learned EXACTLY how to phrase things when calling the police for assistance so that we will get CIT officers who will handle the situation with understanding. The last time I needed to call, one of them had responded once before, so was able to step into the situation without making things more stressful.

We just cancelled case management, since I feel they don’t really have anything to offer my son at this point, and he is struggling with a sense of stigma from having a case manager. It is self-imposed, but understandable - what young man wants to think he needs a case manager, if he doesn’t think he’s sick?

Over the last couple of years, my son and I have been slowing getting better at working as a team, with me consulting him about what he feels comfortable with, and not stressing the small stuff (so he eats the SAME THING, every night for a month - so what?) - and him getting better and recognizing that I have other things going on that sometimes requires some flexibility on his part.

I have posted in the past about my experience getting guardianship. I paid NOTHING. The county provided legal services and it went smoothly.


Guardianship advantages:

-receive medical information and speak with providers
-be able to schedule appointments and find out about appointments
-participate in treatment decisions (though, obviously, no one can force anyone to follow through with these decisions)
-be able to talk with law enforcement
-be able to apply for services such as housing and other necessities


-no actual ability to direct treatment; doctors do that and they along with insurance companies decide who receives care
-where we live, police will not take someone to hospital solely if their guardian requests it, which I actually think is a good unwritten policy on their part, but still have to wait for person to meet criteria if hospital is needed for safety
-relationship with family member may suffer
-possible unnecessary breaches of confidentiality of family member’s treatment
-guardianship seen as negative by disability rights advocates and this is a good reason to hesitate as guardianship is often described as removing a person’s rights

If it came down to it, I would probably not try for guardianship if my family member were really upset by it. I think our relationship is more important than the amount of information and secretarial function I would receive if I became guardian. If it would cure family member’s SMI or make life significantly easier for real for family member, I would not hesitate.

@bridgecomet, where we live the police have a community contact person who keeps a register of the “frequent flyers” and people with MI who call 911 often. The register has all the community members’ personal preferences of how they are interacted with and contact info for family members, friends, and providers. It’s like what you are doing informally. Maybe that would be a practical step forward for your community?


Cops can be a good source of comfort… I’ve called them before and they were very understanding… my son has never been arrested, I called them to help me persuade him to go to the hospital, it always works. I need to reiterate that my son is not a violent schizophrenic and he is a gentle sole, he just doesn’t want to do what “Mom and Dad” think is right… most of the time an outside source other than family is the way to go.


This is a great idea! I will suggest it! Thanks!:confetti_ball:


I agree-it is the same way with my son.
I am always looking for third parties-a little in short supply!


Thank you Vallpen for your experiences regarding guardianship. I looked into it, and in the end decided relationship with my daughter, and mental health team is a better choice. I can’t speak privately with her Dr. With out her concent, but I can speak to her nurse and caseworker. Part of her illness is conflauation…long for either changing her symptems or omitting them. My input is respected, and when team confronts her she tells the true story. She is always fearful of medication change, or hospitilization. I’m finding that as she gets better her trust is grester.