35A-1112. Hearing on petition; adjudication order.

(a) The hearing on the petition shall be at the date, time, and place set forth in the final notice of hearing and shall be open to the public unless the respondent or his counsel or guardian ad litem requests otherwise, in which event the clerk shall exclude all persons other than those directly involved in or testifying at the hearing.

(b) The petitioner and the respondent are entitled to present testimony and documentary evidence, to subpoena witnesses and the production of documents, and to examine and cross-examine witnesses. If the petitioner is a State or local human service agency or a health care provider, evidence may be presented without the need for legal counsel.

(b1) At the hearing on the petition, on the clerk's own motion, the clerk may appoint an interim guardian pursuant to G.S. 35A-1114(d) and (e) if the clerk determines such an appointment to be in the best interests of the respondent.

(c) The clerk shall dismiss the proceeding if the finder of fact, whether the clerk or a jury, does not find the respondent to be incompetent.

(d) If the finder of fact, whether the clerk or the jury, finds by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence that the respondent is incompetent, the clerk shall enter an order adjudicating the respondent incompetent. The clerk may include in the order findings on the nature and extent of the ward's incompetence.

(e) Following an adjudication of incompetence, the clerk shall either appoint a guardian pursuant to Subchapter II of this Chapter or, for good cause shown, transfer the proceeding for the appointment of a guardian to any county identified in G.S. 35A-1103. The transferring clerk shall enter a written order authorizing the transfer. The clerk in the transferring county shall transfer all original papers and documents, including the multidisciplinary evaluation, if any, to the transferee county and close his file with a copy of the adjudication order and transfer order.

(f) If the adjudication occurs in any county other than the county of the respondent's residence, a certified copy of the adjudication order shall be sent to the clerk in the county of the ward's legal residence, to be filed and indexed as in a special proceeding of that county.

(g) Except as provided in G.S. 35A-1114(f), a proceeding filed under this Article may be voluntarily dismissed as provided in G.S. 1A-1, Rule 41, Rules of Civil Procedure. (1987, c. 550, s. 1; 2017-158, s. 7; 2018-33, s. 45(b).)