Marchman Act Warnings

The Marchman Act sounds great in theory but if your thinking about filing petitions for a loved one please read this list of warnings first. The Marchman Act is not a comprehensive intervention or treatment plan. At Intervention Pros we specialize in creating intervention and treatment plans to support your family through a process that very often does NOT require court orders. For a free consultation call now.

Warning -When You File a Marchman Act

  • YOU are asking the GOVERNMENT to get involved in your FAMILY crisis.  (Think about it)
  • YOU are not entitled to a Public Defender or court appointed attorney but the RESPONDENT is.  (If you plan to file, we recommend the use a private attorney to represent you)
  • YOU have the burden of proof in any court proceedings.
  • YOU are responsible to present evidence and witnesses for the hearings.
  • YOU must swear under oath, subject to the penalty of perjury concerning the truthfulness of your statements in the petition(s).
  • YOU must file in the county where the respondent is, and have a valid address where they can be served IN THAT COUNTY.  (If you live out of the area, or if you don’t have a valid address for the respondent this can be a problem)
  • YOU have the responsibility of finding a treatment program willing to accept the respondent.
  • The Marchman Act does NOT guarantee that your loved one gets the care they need no matter how bad their condition may seem to you.  Once you file it is up to the treatment provider and the Judge to make decisions and enforce compliance.
  • Respondents can and do lie during the assessments and these evaluations may or may not include a full drug screening.
  • The Marchman Act does not make it mandatory that a program share patient information with you.  The respondent can refuse to sign or revoke ROI (Release of information).
  • The Marchman Act does not mean FREE TREATMENT!  Programs that receive state funding cannot refuse a person for financial reasons but  they can do the following:
    • Charge co-payments (from several hundred to several thousand dollars)
    • Place the patient on a long waiting list
    • Or commonly, recommend Intensive Outpatient when any other good assessment would have revealed the need for a higher level of care.
  • If your loved one has health insurance that pays for treatment services, beware that state funded programs can use up the insurance days to pay for treatment that is FAR INFERIOR to what is being offered at private treatment centers.
  • Many counties do not have detoxification, residential providers and must rely on a neighboring county for assistance with these cases.  This might make it difficult to access the state funding because the respondent is not a resident of that county.
  • The treatment programs in your area (even private ones) may not be equipped to help with Co-occurring disorders such as eating disorders or major mental illness.
  • The Marchman Act does not guarantee that the respondent will be in a “Locked down” or “Secured” facility; it is rare that the evaluation or treatment center is locked.
  • Your loved one could end up in jail if they are not compliant.


We are not attorneys nor are we affiliated with the state of Florida. If you would like a referral to an attorney or would like to discuss alternative intervention strategies call now.

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