West Virginia Judiciary

Mental Hygiene & Guardians

Guardianship/
Conservatorship

Circuit courts have jurisdiction over guardianship/conservatorship cases. Hearings may be held by mental hygiene commissioners as finders of fact for the circuit court in all cases except missing person cases. Commissioners file findings of fact and recommendations with the circuit judge based on the evidence presented at a hearing, and the circuit judge makes the final decision as to appointment.

Procedures for filing and appointments can be found in the West Virginia Code Chapter 44A, Articles 1 through 5. The West Virginia Code is available at the State Law Library at the State Capitol in Charleston, East Wing, Third Floor, or online at the West Virginia Legislature website, under the tab “WV Code."

Mental Hygiene/Invol. Hospitalization

Circuit judges have jurisdiction over mental hygiene cases (also called involuntary hospitalization or commitment), but may appoint attorneys as mental hygiene commissioners or designate magistrates to preside in these cases. Mental hygiene commissioners and designated magistrates have authority to enter probable cause orders. Circuit judges must enter final commitment orders, although the hearings may be held by mental hygiene commissioners.

More information on mental hygiene matters can be found in West Virginia Code Chapter 27, Articles 1, 4, and 5. The West Virginia Code may be found online at the West Virginia Legislature website, under the tab “WV Code” or by visiting the State Law Library in Chaleston, West Virginia.