Civil Commitment (Part II)

What are the legal procedures for getting a person “committed” against his will? Get a legal expert’s take on the law of involuntary civil commitment and the related concept of guardianship.

Adam Freedman
December 22, 2011

Page 1 of 3

Today’s topic: Civil Commitment  

And now, your daily dose of legalese: This article does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader. In other words, although I am a lawyer, I’m not your lawyer. In fact, we barely know each other. If you need personalized legal advice, contact an attorney in your community.

What is Involuntary Civil Commitment?

This is the second part of a two-part article dealing with involuntary civil commitment. In the first part, I discussed what family members can do if they want to have someone committed for their own good. In this article, I address how a person can resist such committal.

Civil Commitment – A Recap

Involuntary commitment (or “civil commitment”) is a procedure where a family member (or anyone else) can petition a court to force a person to be confined to a mental institution, or at least ordered to undergo mental health treatment. The person to be committed must pose a threat to himself or others, or must be incapable of taking care of him or herself.

Guardianship proceedings are similar, but the goal of those proceedings is to get a guardian appointed to make decisions for a person who cannot make them for him or herself. 

How to Prevent Commitment?

The best way to avoid this situation is prevention.   For example, if you just stop going on and on about how the aliens landed at Roswell and how the ray people are trying to get inside your head, that alone will go a long way toward heading off an commitment petition. But if that strategy isn’t enough, you should also explore some legal devices that might prevent involuntary commitment.


Related Tips