Preliminary Instructions for Incorrigibility Petitions

Incorrigibility Packet

What is incorrigibility?

A. Minors must be found to be in violation of the Juvenile Code, Chapter 712A.2 Sec. 2(a) (3) which reads as follows:

  1. The child is repeatedly disobedient to the reasonable and lawful commands of his or her parents, guardian, or other custodian, and . . .
  2. The court finds on the record by clear and convincing evidence that court accessed services are necessary.

B. Local Standards:

  1. The misbehavior must be continuous or frequently repeated and the court is generally more willing to accept petitions which show a wide scope of misconduct rather than a repeated violation of one rule.  Examples of actions which are usually not considered incorrigible enough to warrant court action are: failure to do household chores, incessant talking on the telephone; insolent back talk.
  2. Examples of things which are generally accepted for court action, if they are frequently repeated behavior are:
    • serious and deliberate threats of physical harm to family members;
    • acts of intimidation toward household members;
    • serious and repeated violations of curfew;
    • refusing to go to school  (**Schools bring truancy complaints under the law, however, parents may include in their incorrigibility petitions allegations that the child is refusing to attend school contrary to the parent's repeated order to attend.  Such a complaint may be filed by the parent even though the child is over 16.
  3. Criminal violations by your child should be reported to the law enforcement agency which services your community
  4. The Livingston County Circuit Court-Family Division -Juvenile Unit recognizes that children have many emotional, social and interpersonal problems as they are maturing and that many of their attitudes and actions that drive parents to distraction are only normal developmental steps that all children go through in their adolescence.  Although the Court will accept petitions charging children with incorrigibility, the Court's policy is not to bring children in to the court system because they are behaving "like teenagers." 

  5. In many cases, consumption of alcohol, drugs or other addictive chemical substances is the basis of a child's disobedient or anti-social behavior.  If you believe this applies to your child, you should have a professional substance abuse evaluation completed on your child and follow their recommendations.

In the area of substance abuse, it is extremely important that parents set a good example for their children and the court will inquire into family alcohol and drug use if an incorrigibility petition is filed.