1. Fill out your forms
Fill out the following documents:
- Petition for Involuntary Outpatient Admission
- Outpatient Certificate (Psychiatrist)
- Outpatient Certificate (Another Clinician)
The petitioner may be anyone 18 years of age or older. You do not need to be related to the respondent to file a petition on their behalf. You must disclose any other legal cases that involve both you and the respondent.
The petition should have a detailed statement including signs and symptoms of mental illness and a description of any act, threats, or behavior (including the time and place of the occurrence).
You must file two certificates with your petition. Each certificate must be from a clinician who was worked with the respondent. This can include a doctor, psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker. At least one of the certificates must be from a psychiatrist.
The petition may be filed with or without the certificates, but no hearing will be set until the two certificates are completed. The clinician completing the certificate must have examined the respondent no more than 72 hours before completing the certificate.
In Cook County, the State’s Attorney’s Office, Special Prosecutions Bureau, Seniors & Persons with Disabilities Unit, may be able to help you. Their number is 312-603-8600.
3. Go to the hearing
Petitions which seek involuntary outpatient admission are set within 15 business days after receipt of the second certificate.
There are two types of Outpatient Commitment Hearings – contested and agreed.
The judge will hear testimony from the mental health professional who examined the respondent and from family and friends of the respondent. They will ask about the signs of symptoms of mental illness and any acts, threats, or behavior which demonstrate the need for the order. The respondent will also have an opportunity to testify. The judge will decide whether or not to enter a Contested Outpatient Order.
This process is much faster. It does not require a lengthy court hearing with testimony from multiple witnesses. Typically, the judge will review a written report from a treating psychiatrist regarding the proposed treatment, ask a few questions of the doctor, and then go over the terms of the agreed order with the respondent. If the judge decides that the respondent understands and agrees to the terms of the agreed order, the court will enter the Agreed Outpatient Order.
4. File a motion to revoke (if necessary)
If the respondent does not comply with an Involuntary Outpatient Order, you can file a motion to revoke the order and to have a peace officer take the respondent to an inpatient mental health facility for an evaluation.
If the respondent does not comply with an Agreed Outpatient Order and the respondent is in the care of a custodian, the custodian may be authorized to admit the respondent for failure to comply with the order. The custodian may also ask the court for an order authorizing a peace officer to take the respondent into custody and transport to a mental health facility.
In either situation, the respondent may not be detained for longer than one business day unless a petition for involuntary inpatient admission with a supporting certificate is filed.
Updated: February 2018