Judge orders co-guardianship for Michael Jackson's kids
LOS ANGELES, USA (AP) — A judge yesterday reinstated Katherine Jackson as the guardian of Michael Jackson's three children in an arrangement that also keeps their cousin as temporary co-guardian.
Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff said during a hearing that an investigator who looked into the children's care found that the late pop star's 82-year-old mother was an excellent guardian and the children love her very much.
"I think the kids are in terrific hands," the judge said. "It appears from the report that Katherine Jackson has done a wonderful job and cares about the children very much."
Beckloff noted that the children, Prince, 15, Paris, 14 and Blanket, 10, also have a close relationship with their 34-year-old cousin TJ Jackson, who was named co-guardian after working closely with Katherine Jackson since Michael Jackson died.
TJ is "incredibly respectful" of the family matriarch and she is respectful of him, the judge said.
Beckloff said he will finalise the arrangement later in the month but for now he will issue letters of co-guardianship allowing both Jacksons to make decisions about the children's welfare.
The shared guardianship plan is apparently designed to remove pressure from Katherine Jackson who was previously named in her son's will as the children's sole guardian.
Perry Sanders Jr, her lawyer, has said the arrangement will allow his client to focus on the children's upbringing and not on home or logistics issues.
TJ Jackson was appointed temporary guardian in a court hearing last week after a bizarre episode in which Katherine Jackson was reported missing but later turned up at an Arizona spa with family members.
Beckloff said last week that he didn't believe Jackson had done anything wrong but suspended her guardianship duties because she had been out of contact with her grandchildren for 10 days.
The changes in guardianship come on the heels of family dissension over Michael Jackson's will, which left nothing to his siblings when he died three years ago. Several of them signed a letter that was leaked to the media alleging the will was a fake and calling on executors of the estate to resign.