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 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

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:

This link is for the Probate Judge of Etowah County. . 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 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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Answered on 1/21/11, 10:46 pm

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