Anyone here have POA or custodianship of their difficult child?


Well-Known Member
My husband and I are going to make an appointment with-our atty to draw up some kind of POA or guardianship for difficult child, since he turns 18 in Dec. We want to be able to make him take his medications, take surprise drug tests, and somehow, not wipe out our assets if he hurts or kills someone after he gets his license. He will live at home until he graduates from HS. He is a rising Jr.
He never did get a job this summer ... he started the search way too late. :( He cuts grass for his girlfriend's mom once every 3 wks or so. And we occasionally pay him for work around the house. But he's not a hard worker. Sigh. Don't know how he's going to even afford 1/2 apt rent when the time comes.


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I dont know from what you have posted about your son if you will be able to get guardianship. Now he may give you a POA for him but that wont cover some things. I was Jamie's POA when he was in the Marines so I could pay some of his bills if he wasnt able. That came in handy when I had to update registration on his car but I couldnt have forced him to go to the dentist.

Now one thing you can do is tell lovely son that you insist he put you down as the contact or whatever it is called with his doctors so that they can talk to you and you can talk to them. Cory is now weeks from being 28 years old and I still have the ability to talk to any of his doctors and they talk to me too. I insist he allows that if he wants me to take his butt to appointments.


I will be surprised if you can get a poa since he is turning 18 as far as trying to get him to take his medications etc. he would have to agree to it. And as far as a guardianship I would think a judge would have to declare him incompetent. Since he will be considered an adult, I don't think you can be held liable for anything he does. However if he is on your insurance, they could be sued. And then you know anyone can sue anyone. I hope I am wrong.

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one day at a time
Now one thing you can do is tell lovely son that you insist he put you down as the contact or whatever it is called with his doctors so that they can talk to you and you can talk to them

Great advice here. It's so frustrating to try to help your adult child with professionals but to get absolutely no information about whether or not he keeps appointments, diagnosis and treatment.

Just getting this would be a huge accomplishment for you, so please pursue it while you can.


Well-Known Member
You have to be declared disabled, usually cognitively disabled or psychotic. Sonic is doing really well from where he came from and makes most of his own decisions, but he can not do money and really needs help with certain simple chores because he simply does not understand what to do. I don't believe you can get it just because your kid has a certain label, unless it includes cognitive disabilities. Lucas has always had help and will probably always need some. He was labeled disabled long ago and is active in things such as Special Olympics and is not interested in what most twenty-one year old young adults like to do. He's like one big child who can care for his needs, such as cleaning his house or getting ready for work, but he got totally confused just walking across the street asking about rental insurance, which we tried to explain to him. In the end, he asked me to please come with him because he didn't get it. He does not know how to write (he can print pretty well) and does not drive so, because he is disabled, he gets free cab rides around town that the city pays for.He is on a waiting list for a wonderful apartment complex for adults with developmental delays and he was accepted. There only needs to be an opening and he is #2 on the list. So he is bonafide disabled in the eyes of the court, although he is higher functioning.

I am his payee. I will be paying his bills because he gets too nervous about bills and if he had to pay them he would not understand how to budget or who to pay. When we are gone, they are going to appoint a court appointed payee. He has a caseworker who comes once a week to make sure he is doing ok in his apartment. He works part-time and does a remarkable job considering the odds, but he is a disabled young adult. That is different from an eighteen year old who wa not declared disabled and just is immature. You can not make any adult take psychiatric medication. I know a young woman who works with me and lives in a group home since my employee often hires disabled young adults. She has schizo-affective disorder with autistic traits. Her mother is an acquaintance of mine and told me that the group home has restrictions on what it can make her do. They can't force her to take her medications, although she will do so. She also has an eating disorder and eats constantly. Since she moved to the group home, she has gained a ton of weight. Staff can instruct her on healthy eating, but in no way are they allowed to restrict her intake of food. This is a young adult who also has a guardian, although her mother didn't want the job, so the court appointed one. There is a limit on what you can make them do even if you are a guardian. Legally, I can actually be charged with abuse if I, say, restricted Sonic from eating or did anything the state considered abusive. And every dime you spend out of the disability check...and, yes, he'd probably need to get one for him to need a the money he gets from his part-time job has to be documented. What did you buy? Keep the receipts, etc.

I am not sure what the rules are about what you can and can't do because Sonic is extremely compliant. I wouldn't be shocked if your son was allotted guardianship, but I'd definitely be surprised. He doesn't sound that badly disabled to me, but, then, I'm not a lawyer. For us it was a snap. We had all the testing and Sonic's long history of needing more help in cognitive areas than other people do.
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Roll With It
I know there was a woman here who had guardianship of her son to force him to stay in treatment and it caused HUGE problems in their relationship for several years. I cannot for the life of me remember her name. She had a twin sister who died suddenly and she thought it was a suspicious death but the police and her parents did not, and she moved to I think Arizona out in the boonies somewhere for a while, but I lost track of her and she has not been here for a while. Other than that, I cannot think of anyone.

I think you will not get guardianship easily unless his psychiatrist agrees with you and that is rare, from my experience. It is likely you will have to tell him he has to get a job and pay rent or leave, and then likely make him leave. I believe that in most states if he is still in high school you cannot force him to leave before he graduates. Also, in MANY states, if he is there for a night after he is 18 then he has residency and will have to be evicted unless he has a lease/rental agreement that says he has to do x, y, and z or leave within X hours/days notice. I would sit him down with a lease and make him sign or leave on his birthday rather than having to evict him. From parents i have seen go through eviction, that 30 days notice turns into 'let's trash everything and steal whatever isn't nailed down that we can pawn". I have seen parents here who ended up literally losing thousands of dollars to fix damage done by an angry teen who was refusing to do what was expected and got served with eviction because of that. One friend let her son have her old home when she bought a new one on the condition that the kid pay her the amt of the mortgage. He didn't pay her any rent, and he completely trashed the house (after the real estate market went bust the house would have listed for about $60,000). by the time she got him out the house was actually condemned by the health dept because he literally destroyed it. She had less than three years until it was paid off and she lost the entire value of the building. She had to sue her son for the value or her insurance would not cover ANY of the loss either. He didn't even have a party lifestyle before he had the house. He just let anyone come over and do anything, then when she had to serve eviction papers he literally let people tear the copper wires out of the walls and tear out the old iron bathtub to sell for scrap. It was sickening and broke her heart. She won't even speak to him now and they were, at one time, very close.

Talk to an atty and see what you can do and what the law will allow you to do. I think "Do to Get" will be your best friend at this point. he wants a ride, what will he do for you? He wants free food? What will he do to earn it? that sort of thing. It is just the way the world is, and the sooner he learns this, the better off he will be, Know what I mean??


one day at a time
In thinking about what you and husband are trying to do, I so get it.

I would have loved to have taken legal control of my son's life---to have some clear black and white guidelines about who is responsible here, and who is going to do what, and by when. There was a time, when I was so desperate for answers, that difficult child's dad and I talked about this. It seemed like such a good idea.

Sadly, life very seldom works that way.

I don't think there is a court in the world who can legislate recovery from active addiction, or control it, or manage it, or see that it takes its medications.

I would encourage you to do the legwork to see what is possible since you are in agreement on this. Please don't be disappointed if you hit brick walls. In our country, the stature of the individual is held in the highest regard, as you know. That's why we spend inordinate amounts of money in the last 5 years of every person's life to extend that life just a few more weeks or months, for example. That is why there must be incontrovertible proof of incapacitation---complete inability to care for yourself---before someone is placed in charge of someone else. That is just who we are in the U.S., and while it is one of our greatest strengths, like anything, it can also be one of our greatest weaknesses.

But just think about it. You're in charge of difficult child, and legally, you can make him do what you want him to do.

Good luck with that. You're not able to do it now---what makes you think legal standing will make any difference? If our difficult children obeyed the law and believed in the law and respected the law, they wouldn't be difficult children in the first place.

I am afraid that you are going to have to do something much, much harder than gaining legal rights over your difficult child. I am afraid that you are going to have to change.

And that is going to take much more hard, hard work than the legal battle ever could.

I would start on that right now. Assemble your toolbox, read this site, start going to 12-step meetings for YOU, read books, start changing your thinking and your attitude about difficult child. Stop enabling, start detaching with love and start accepting what is.

This is the hardest road I can imagine, and we are all working hard to walk it on this site.

The road is filled with potholes, detours and bad weather. We make some progress and we fall back. Such is being human.

In the end, we have to accept that we can't control another person, no matter how much we want to, and how much we love them, and how much they are destroying themselves. We can't. We just can't.

But learning how to stop trying to is literally the hardest work there is.

Please know my heart is filled with compassion for you and for your precious son. I pray something good happens for you all. In the meantime, start the hard work. It's worth it.


Well-Known Member
Thank you all. I think we may draw up a contract with-our attorney, and not tell difficult child that it's not as solid as something court-mandated. We will definitely be cracking down on do-to-get!


Well-Known Member
husband and I have guardianship of difficult child. We did it without an attorney because we couldn't afford one, but I would get one if you can. We simply went to court with difficult child and his medical records and filled out the forms the judge requested. We had to pay a filing fee and get a letter from his physician that he was disabled and needed a guardian.

All in all, it was a pretty easy process. We are in IL.


Well-Known Member
COM, something you wrote about how hard it can be even to get an elderly adult declared incompetent made me remember something.

Most folks here know that I ended up having to take care of my mother when she got alzheimer's. By the time I had to get involved she was pretty far gone but it would have been a very long and hard road to go through the court system to get me appointed. Not only that, the courts get all up in your business.

My mom had a lawyer that she had been using for years...maybe I should say using and He knew I was the only child and that I was the only one available so he probably stepped a bit outside the lines to get me appointed POA. We took my mom into his office one day and we both knew she didnt have a clue why she was there but he got her to tell him I was her daughter and that was all it took. He had already drawn up the POA and he had her sign it. He gave her some lame excuse about what she was signing and it was all over. She was far enough gone that she would have never understood. But for one brief moment in time she recognized


Well-Known Member
They asked Sonic if he agreed that I should be his guardian.

You need the right documentation or the person can appeal and say he is competent. Basically, that requires the person to be on disability. Yet I'm on disability and do not have a guardian. In fact, I am Sonic's guardian. It's not cut and dried. Since your son is not done with high school yet that could really help you, but you'd better start collecting information from professionals who agree he is incompetent of making his own decisions. That doesn't mean he won't take his medication. Many competent people refuse, for whatever reason, to take medication. It means they are incapacitated and probably will be for the long term. I read that extreme addicts CAN sometimes have parental guardianship, however, as COM said, hard to force an addict to do what you say. You are just responsible for what he does, which in my opinion is not a good thing. And if Sonic decided he wasn't going to listen to me, they wouldn't throw him in jail. It would be more like he'd be fighting with me like a typical teen, although he has never been like one.

I think guardianship works the best if it is because your child can not make decisions for himself and if the adult child is compliant. I can't imagine having guardianship over an adult child who refused to do what I told him to do. Ay, the headache is coming just thinking about it.

COM is right about how we over-value individual rights in this country. I don't see it as easy for most people to gain guardianship over their grown adult children or more would do it. There are a lot of parents out there who want to control their kids even as adults, regardless of whether or not they can do it themselves. We are country that thinks psychotic individuals have the right not to get psychiatric care and that we can't force twelve year olds, in some states, to take medication. Have your lawyer spell out exactly what your role would be.

Good luck.


Well-Known Member
Well, there are different kinds of custodianships, I guess. When I got custody of my elderly cousin, the things that spoke the loudest were the psychiatric evaluation, and her age. with- difficult child, his psychiatric evaluation would not be as extreme, especially since he is mainstreamed in school.
I totally agree with-the right of the individual. However, our country is also a country of law, and our lawyers are out of control. One false move from difficult child and we can lose everything we have.