Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

We can't get Guardianship

My husband and i went to a lawyer to try to get guardianship over our 28 yo son with schizophrenia. Unfortunately its next to impossible since there are no drs to sign. . He is noncompliant. Doesn’t take meds or go to drs. He has been committed several times. We live in Delaware. Anyone have experience with this?

yes, this is harder than many think, only three attorneys authorized to do it my county, the SZ must be pretty much totally gone to make it happen…

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I had a very different experience. My son had record of diagnosis in another state, the doctor in the behavioral health unit where my son had his first long inpatient admission after he moved back to my state encouraged me to get guardianship, and directed me to the county office that handled it.

The county assigned a lawyer for me as well as for my son. Everyone was very sympathetic and supportive. My son had another hospitalization, and had a private practice psychiatrist at that point, who wrote an additional letter of support.

My son was very sick and non-compliant at that point, and never interacted with his lawyer at all, and I was assigned guardianship on the first application.

This all cost me zero dollars.


To your point, you may be able to get doctors from his admissions to write letters of support. Hospital social workers sometimes can be very good resources for family.

My son (age 27) was diagnosed w/schizophrenia and labeled “gravely disabled” by the state with Medical/doctor/psychiatry proof. I chose not to apply for guardianship after being told I would be financially responsible for all prior medical bills. At the time he didn’t have medical insurance and had medical debt I couldn’t pay.
Instead, I found a residential program for him, applied for social security and Medicare to off set expenses. A long journey later… he’s med compliant, stable and living his best life in a residential community that loves him. My understanding (in California) is you have to reapply yearly for guardianship. I did initially have to take my son to court to get an order for antipsychotic injections. He was really angry at the time; it saved his life. Stay strong. Parenting the mentally ill takes grit. Don’t give up.


I so wish my son would go into a residential community. But… “there’s nothing wrong with him”. Maybe someday. I believe in miracles.

I don’t know about CA, but in my state, I must yearly complete a form stating that guardianship is still necessary. I think unless it is challenged, guardianship remains in effect in most places.

Guardianship does not including taking financial responsibility.

In our state, you can have guardianship over person and/or guardian over their “estate”. Their debts do not become your debts, but you are responsible to pay their bills and make decisions about their assets using their funds.

In California, a conservatorship for the mentally ill must be initiated by the hospital where the patient is being treated. Very hard to obtain. I have renewed mine every year for the last 23 years. The laws need to change.

I couldn’t get it for my daughter in New York. We met with one of the judge’s mediators but it was a no go. It didn’t matter that I had documentation. They would have put her through a trial and I didn’t want to do that to her; I also couldn’t afford the legal fees. Since then she’s been psychiatrically hospitalized twice. I just want to drop her off on the mediator’s door and be like “here you go, you know better so now it’s your turn.”

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