If you have a loved one with a severe mental illness, you can get a court order forcing them to undergo outpatient treatment. This is called an Outpatient Commitment Order.
There are two types of Outpatient Commitment Orders:
- Involuntary Outpatient Commitment Orders: When the person does not agree to the treatment.
- Agreed Outpatient Commitment Orders: When the person agrees to the treatment
Under either scenario, the court will receive a written treatment report. The report should include:
- A social investigation of the person receiving treatment,
- The availability of alternative treatment settings, and
- A preliminary treatment plan.
You will need to file a petition in court to get an Outpatient Commitment Order. You will be called the "petitioner" and the person with the mental illness will be called the "respondent." Learn more about Starting a case to get an Outpatient Commitment Order.
What are the advantages to agreed orders?
With an agreed order, the respondent takes an active role in shaping his or her treatment in the community. They agree to settle the case without a court hearing. The order may be extended by agreement without filing a new petition.
The downside to the agreed order is that it may be difficult to get the respondent to agree to it.
What is a custodian?
The judge can place the respondent in the care of a person who will help them attend all of the appointments and/or therapy sessions. This is called a custodian. The proposed custodian must appear at the court hearing and testify that he or she is willing to take on this role.
The judge will decide if the custodian understands and agrees to the terms of the order and is willing and able to properly care for the respondent. The order may grant the custodian the authority to admit the respondent to the hospital if they fail to comply with the conditions of the order.
Is there legal help for the respondent?
The respondent is represented by the Legal Advocacy Services of the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission (GAC). The GAC ensures that the respondent’s legal rights are protected. The GAC does not charge for their services.
How long does the order last?
Can the order be extended?
Yes. The court may extend the order by another 180 days. You must file a new petition with two new certificates before the first Outpatient Commitment Order expires. An Agreed Outpatient Order can be extended for 180 days by agreement of the parties without filing a new petition or holding a new hearing.
Can the order include psychotropic medication?
An involuntary order cannot include psychotropic medication.
An agreed order can include psychotropic medication. The court must find that due to the respondent’s documented history of treatment and illness, he or she is unlikely to continue to receive needed medication unless there is a court order in place.
Updated: February 2018