What are your rights as a mother, father, boyfriend, girlfriend, and/or significant other if your loved one has been Baker Acted?
Hello, everyone. It’s Mark, and welcome back.
In this video, I want to talk about how and why the state of Florida can suspend your rights as a parent, a husband, a wife, and a significant other. How is that possible? Well, chapter 394, which is the Florida Baker Act statute, allows this state or the facility, an agent of the state, to temporarily suspend your rights to make decisions for your loved one. Suppose you’re a parent or a spouse who’s called me and want to know why the facility is not speaking to you why you cannot make decisions for your loved one. In that case, it is because the state of Florida has authorized facilities within the state to suspend your right to make those decisions. You will not be able to make medical decisions for your loved one. You will not decide who treats them, where they get treatment, or what medicines they do or don’t get. That’s what the Baker Act does and its potential danger.
I’ve discussed in other videos that it’s a useful tool in the right circumstances, but it allows facilities to temporarily suspend your rights to make decisions for your loved one. Normally, that suspension is good for 72 hours; after 72 hours, one of two things has to happen. Either the facility has to let your loved one go, or they have to run to court and get a court order. That doesn’t always happen, though. Maybe your loved one is not there on an involuntary basis. What I mean is perhaps, you’ve signed some paperwork where you’ve agreed to keep your loved one there. It’s called voluntary admission, and there are times when you won’t even know that you’ve signed paperwork.
Recently, I had a family member who was asked to sign paperwork agreeing to give up their constitutional right to own a firearm. However, when you read the document, it talked nothing about firearms; in fact, it was a voluntary admission agreement.
In another instance, a family took their loved ones to the emergency room. The admitting person asked them to sign where they never explained what they were even signing in. When the family asked, they said it was just an agreement, only to find out it was a voluntary admission agreement. If you agree voluntarily to allow your loved one to seek treatment of the Baker Act, there is no 72-hour clock. There’s no involuntary admission. There’s no running to court, and it’s a way for the facilities to skirt the concept of getting a court order, of going and asking a judge for permission to keep your loved one. Your right as a parent, a spouse, a fiance, or whatever, not only has it been temporarily suspended. It’s going to be suspended unless you do one of two things; either get the facility to capitulate and let your loved one go, or you’re willing to fight and take action. You’re willing to go to court and force the facility to let your loved one go because there are certain requirements for getting somebody to agree to voluntary admission. There are certain requirements for somebody to be involuntarily committed. There’s a burden of proof to be met when a facility goes to court. Are there pleadings even technically correct? There are 125 pages in the Baker Act statute. It’s very convoluted; it’s very complicated. I can tell you that I learn something new every time I read it. So if you’re wondering why you can’t decide for your loved one, it’s because chapter 394 the Baker Act statute permits these facilities to suspend your rights temporarily, and if you want to change that, then you need to go to court, and that’s where we fit in. I can help you to do that.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us. Email me or go to our website. We give a lot of content away for free. With that said, thanks for tuning in. See you in the next video.