Your rights if someone has started CARE Act proceedings for you

If someone has started CARE Act proceedings for you (also known as the “respondent”), you have rights throughout the process.

Respondent's rights

During CARE Act proceedings

During the CARE Act proceedings, the respondent has a right to:

    • Be informed of the proceedings;
    • Receive notice of each hearing;
    • Be present and personally participate at each hearing;
    • Be represented by counsel at all stages of the proceedings, regardless of ability to pay;
    • Receive a copy of the petition;
    • Receive a copy of the court-ordered evaluation and court-ordered report;
    • Have a supporter be present with them and assist them;
    • Present evidence;
    • Call witnesses;
    • Cross-examine witnesses;
    • Appeal decisions; and
    • Keep confidential all evaluations, reports, documents, and filings submitted to the court for CARE Act proceedings.

CARE Act hearings are closed to the public unless the court orders otherwise (see the note below). However, the respondent has a right to:

  • Demand that the hearing be public and be held in a place suitable for attendance by the public;
  • Request the presence of any family member or friend, including a supporter, without waiving the right to keep the hearing closed to the rest of the public; and
  • Be informed by the judge of these rights before each hearing begins.


 The court may grant a request by any other party to the proceeding to make a hearing public if the judge conducting the hearing finds that the public interest in an open hearing clearly outweighs the respondent's interest in privacy.
The respondent has a right to a supporter throughout the CARE Act process.

Supporter's role

The supporter's role is to assist the respondent with understanding, communicating, and making decisions and expressing preferences at hearings and meetings throughout the CARE Act process. For more information, see Information for Respondents—About the CARE Act (form CARE-060-INFO).

What if I don't speak English?

You can use Request for Interpreter—Civil (form INT-300) or a local court form or website to request an interpreter. For more information about court interpreters, click here.

What if I have a disability?

If you have a disability and need an accommodation while you are at court, you can use Disability Accommodation Request (form MC-410) to make your request. You can also ask the ADA Coordinator in your court for help. For more information, see How to Request a Disability Accommodation for Court (form MC-410-INFO).

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