The Michigan Mental Health Code is the body of state law that deals with all aspects of mental health care in Michigan. The exclusive method of involuntary hospitalization is through the Mental Health Code. Involuntary hospitalization is the process to help a person who may be mentally ill and harmful to self or others and refuses to seek treatment or whose judgment is so impaired they do not understand their need for treatment.  

Mental illness is, as defined by MCL 330.1400(g), as “a substantial disorder of thought or mood that significantly impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or ability to cope with the ordinary demands of life.”

You may need help to obtain treatment for a mentally ill person. However, it is important to understand that according to Michigan’s Mental Health Code, it is not enough for a person to be diagnosed as “mentally ill.” Rather, the person must also be considered an adult “person requiring treatment” or a “minor requiring treatment” for the Court to become involved.

Pursuant to MCL 330.1401, a “person requiring treatment” must have “mental illness” and any of the following:

  • Can reasonably be expected within the near future to intentionally or unintentionally seriously harm himself/herself or another person, and who has already done so or threatened to do so, or
  • Is unable to attend to his/her basic physical needs such as food, clothing, or shelter, or 
  • Is unable to understand his/her need for treatment which may result in significant physical harm to himself/herself or to 

There are some exceptions. MCL 330.1401(2) provides that an adult who has been affected by age, epilepsy, alcoholism, or drug dependence is not necessarily “a person requiring treatment.” The person must also meet at least meet one of the three requirements noted above.


An adult may consent to voluntary treatment at a facility of his/her choice without involvement of the Court. The patient is permitted to leave, but if the facility determines that the patient needs to remain, that patient may be retained, a petition would be filed with the court, and a hearing would be held.

Voluntary treatment of an adult or minor may be obtained at any private or public facility willing and able to accept the patient. If voluntary treatment is not possible and the Court must become involved, the Court may order treatment.

To request an involuntary hospitalization, the alleged mentally ill person must be a resident of that county before a petition will be accepted.

  • The petitioner must be 18 years of age or
  • There are no filing

There are basically three ways to have a person transported for an emergency evaluation if the person does not voluntarily agree to treatment:

Protective Custody

Pursuant to MCL 330.1427, if a police officer observes someone acting in a manner which causes the officer to reasonably believe that the adult is a “person requiring treatment” or that the minor is a “minor requiring treatment” and presents a serious danger to self or others, the officer may take the individual into protective custody and transport to a hospital, without the necessity of obtaining a Transport Order from the Court.

Transport by Medical Certification

Pursuant to MCL 330.1423, if an adult agrees to be examined by a physician or psychiatrist and the doctor concludes that the individual is a “person requiring treatment,” a Court order is not necessary. The doctor completes a Clinical Certificate, and the family member or friend completes a Petition/Application for Hospitalization. These two documents are shown to the police or Ambulance Company so that the person may be transported. They are only good for 72 hours from the completion of the Clinical Certificate. No Court involvement or Court hearing is necessary to have the patient transported and evaluated. A probate court hearing will be held, however, within seven days of the Court’s receipt of the paperwork, to determine if the patient should remain hospitalized.

Court Order to Transport

Pursuant to MCL 330.1438, it may be necessary to seek probate court’s Mental Health Division’s assistance in obtaining an Order to Transport the individual to a hospital for evaluation and examination. The petitioner must have personally observed recent examples of behavior or speech evidencing “mental illness.” If granted by the Court, the police and/or an ambulance company are generally called by the petitioner to transport the person for evaluation.

Pursuant to MCL 330.1498b(b)(i) and (ii), defines a “minor requiring treatment.” It is defined as either of the following:

  • A minor with a substantial disorder of thought or mood that significantly impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or ability to cope with the ordinary demands of life, or 
  • A minor having a severe or persistent emotional condition characterized by seriously impaired personality development, individual adjustment, social adjustment, or emotional growth, which is demonstrated in behavior symptomatic of that impairment.

There are some exceptions. MCL 330.1498d(5) provides that a minor shall not be determined to be a “minor requiring treatment”solely on the basis of one or more of the following conditions:

  • Developmental
  • Drug or alcohol use, dependence, or
  • Juvenile offenses, including school truancy, home truancy, or
  • Sexual
  • Religious or political activity or

Pursuant to MCL 330.1498c(b), for minors, a request for hospitalization is made to a facility by the minor’s parent, a guardian, a person who has either legal or physical custody, and provides support and care for the minor, or the Department of Human Services (if minor is a ward), or the minor (if 14 years of age or older), or a police officer.

The minor must “require treatment”, must be in need of hospitalization and be expected to benefit from hospitalization; and there must not be an appropriate, less restrictive alternative to hospitalization available.

Note that if the minor is hospitalized by any of the above methods, there is no further Court involvement or hearings unless the minor or his/her parents or guardian wish to terminate hospitalization against the facility’s medical advice.

Pursuant to MCL 330.1429(1), if you have found it necessary to file a petition with the probate court and if the individual has been transported to a hospital, an evaluation will be made within 24 hours. If the examining physician or psychologist does not find that the individual is a “person requiring treatment,” the individual shall be released immediately.

Pursuant to MCL 330.1452, if the examiner signs a Clinical Certificate, the individual will be hospitalized pending the hearing, which must be set within seven days.  Unless the patient has his/her own attorney, the Court will appoint an attorney to represent him/her. The patient may be billed for some or all of the attorney fees, unless the patient is found indigent. 

Pursuant to MCL 330.1453a, Community Mental Health Services will prepare an Alternative Treatment Report that the Judge will study to determine if there is a better alternative than hospitalization. 

Pursuant to MCL 330.1454(8), a meeting (sometimes called the “deferral”) will be held (within 72 hours of filing the petition) with the patient at the facility at which time the Court process will be explained, and he/she will be given the opportunity to accept the proposed plan of treatment, with the condition that he/she has the right to request a hearing at any time, and a hearing must be convened by the Court within seven days.

If a hearing is ordered pursuant to MCL 330.1455,

  • The patient has the right to an attorney, a jury, and an independent medical
  • To patient has the right to present documents and witnesses and to cross examine witnesses.
  • Corporation Counsel will represent the petitioner and the county at the
  • The patient is brought to the Courthouse by hospital staff and must be present at the hearing unless he/she waives his/her presence in open Court or signs a waiver in the presence of his/her attorney.
  • A doctor designated by the hospital will testify; the petitioner might be asked to testify. The Court will decide whether the patient is a “person requiring”
  • The Judge has the option of dismissing the initial petition or ordering up to 90 days of treatment, which may be a combination of a maximum of 60 days of hospitalization and outpatient
  • At the conclusion of the hearing, the family may wish to place the patient in a private facility rather than a public
  • As the treatment time expires, the facility may file a Petition for Continuing Hospitalization if continued hospitalization appears necessary, and a hearing will be held.

As an involuntary (court‐ordered) recipient, you do not have the right to refuse treatment. However, you do have the right to ask questions about your treatment, participate in the development of your plan of service, and discuss it with your doctor or other mental health professionals. If you think your treatment is not helping, you may ask for a review of your treatment plan.

The Probate Pro can assist with these important issues. Please contact The Probate Pro at  or call us at (833) PROBATE.