The first step is for the court to determine whether your parent/spouse is incapacitated. To do that, you will need to file a petition for determination of capacity and obtain a mental health case number.
Once the petition for determination of capacity is filed, three members of the court’s Examining Committee will visit your parent or spouse and evaluate him or her. The Examining Committee consists of eleven psychologists and psychiatrists. The examination of the incapacitated person normally includes: a physical examination, a mental health examination and a functional assessment. After the Examining Committee member evaluates your parent or spouse, he or she will write a report as to their findings and whether he or she considers your parent or spouse to be incapacitated. Judges read the reports from the Examining Committee members to decide whether your parent or spouse is incapacitated.
If the court decides that your parent or spouse is incapacitated, then the court will recommend that a guardian be appointed. The second step in the process is to open a separate guardianship legal proceeding, obtain a guardianship case number and file a Petition to Appoint Guardian. The guardianship legal proceeding has a different case file than the mental health proceeding in which the Ward was found to be incapacitated.
The law requires that all guardians must be represented by an attorney. Fla. Prob. R. 5.030(a).
If you cannot afford an attorney, please contact the Dade County Bar Association Legal Aid at 305-579-5733 or Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. at 305-576-0080.