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PROBATE 44: Petition for Mental Health Treatment

On September 11, 2020, an adult social worker, filed a petition with the probate court seeking mental health treatment for respondent.

In the petition, the social worker stated her belief that respondent had a mental illness and, as a result of that mental illness, could reasonably be expected within the near future to intentionally or unintentionally seriously physically injure himself or others, and has engaged in an act or acts or made significant threats that are substantially supportive of this expectation. She requested a combination of hospitalization and assisted outpatient treatment for respondent.

Clinical Certificates

Two clinical certificates were filed with the petition for mental health treatment. Two doctors concluded that respondent was a person requiring treatment based on the likelihood of injury to himself, his inability to understand his treatment needs, and that respondent was unable to attend to his basic physical needs.

Probate Court

The probate court ordered Washtenaw Community Mental Health to prepare an assessment. A registered nurse and court liaison, submitted respondent’s assessment to the probate court recommending that respondent be hospitalized for up to 60 days, followed by assisted outpatient treatment.

The probate court concluded that based on clear and convincing evidence respondent was a person requiring medical treatment under MCL 330.1401(1)(a) and (c) because he had a mental illness. Accordingly, the probate court determined that Michigan Medicine could provide treatment that was adequate and appropriate, and ordered respondent to be hospitalized for up to 60 days during a period of 180 days of assisted outpatient treatment.

Petition for Mental Health Treatment

Michigan’s Mental Health Code governs the civil admission and discharge procedures for a person with a mental illness. Specifically, MCL 330.1434 sets forth the procedure and content requirements for a petition for mental health treatment:

(1) Any individual 18 years of age or over may file with the court a petition that asserts that an individual is a person requiring treatment.

(2) The petition shall contain the facts that are the basis for the assertion, the names and addresses, if known, of any witnesses to the facts, and, if known, the name and address of the nearest relative or guardian, or, if none, a friend, if known, of the individual.

(3) Except as provided in subsection (7), the petition shall be accompanied by the clinical certificate of a physician or a licensed psychologist, unless after reasonable effort the petitioner could not secure an examination. If a clinical certificate does not accompany the petition, the petitioner shall set forth the reasons an examination could not be secured within the petition. The petition may also be accompanied by a second clinical certificate. If 2 clinical certificates accompany the petition, at least 1 clinical certificate must have been executed by a psychiatrist.

(4) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (7) and section 455, a clinical certificate that accompanies a petition must have been executed within 72 hours before the filing of the petition, and after personal examination of the individual.

(5) If the individual is found not to be a person requiring treatment under this section, the petition and any clinical certificate shall be maintained by the court as a confidential record to prevent disclosure to any person who is not specifically authorized under this chapter to receive notice of the petition or clinical certificate.

(6) The petition described in this section may assert that the subject of the petition should receive assisted outpatient treatment in accordance with section 468(2)(d).

(7) A petition that does not seek hospitalization but only requests that the subject of the petition receive assisted outpatient treatment is not subject to subsection (3) or (4).

Facing A Probate Matter? We Can Help.

Given the emotional nature of probate matters and their financial impact on all involved, it is critical that anyone involved in such a dispute retain highly qualified legal counsel. Let an experienced probate lawyer from Aldrich Legal Services focus on your legal needs so you can focus on your family at this difficult time.