Legal Question in Civil Rights Law in Alabama

my seventeen year old son is mental ill- he has attempted suicide numereous times and has attacked his father . He has made threats to kill me (in a dr offfice) he has been in and out of various mental hospitals for the last year- we thought we had everything under control by allowing him to stay with a friend but now he has beaten up on them and threaten to "filet me.my husband and our daughters" and eat us - he can no longer stay with them - he is currently on probation for a domestic violance - he will be 18 in feb- here is the problem--since he is only 17 we can not sign him into a mental hospital without his consent- his insurance is dead and we cant get him commited without paying a lawyer(we dont have the money) and we cant kick him out of the house- is there anything we can do to protect our other children and our selves?

Asked on 1/16/11, 10:22 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Kyla Kelim Aging in Alabama
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Yes. I don't know who told you that you cannot commit him without his consent. Because he is 17, he is still a minor and you are still his guardian. Involuntary commitment is what needs to happen so he can be evaluated for what would appear to be a mental illness, so that he can get help. See this great document from the Alabama Hospital Association, which outlines exactly what to do in an emergency situation: http://www.alaha.org/uploadedFiles/Resources/Key_Links/misc_psych_doc.pdf

This link is for the Probate Judge of Etowah County. http://www.etowahcounty.org/probate/probate.html#involuntary . You should talk to the clerk in the probate office to discuss procedure. You should also find out how you can fill out a petition and be appointed an attorney. That is your right.

If you are not getting anywhere, contact adep, the advocates for the disabled at http://www.adep.net and they can step in to get you assistance. Once your son is stabilized he should be entitled to a disability check and health insurance so that he can afford his medication and doctor visits, if it is a medical problem. This process must be started before he reaches the age of 22 or else he will not be eligible for a draw from your social security later in life. Hopefully, this can correct the situation you are going through now. I am confident this route will get your family some assistance.

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1/21/11, 10:46 pm

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