LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A judge Wednesday finalized a co-guardianship agreement for the late Michael Jackson’s three children, with the singer’s mother Katherine and nephew TJ sharing the responsibilities.
The decision by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff finalizes a deal that was tentatively put in place earlier this month when Jackson, 82, was reinstated as the permanent guardian of the children — sons Prince, 15, and Blanket, 10, and daughter Paris, 14. But Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff also agreed to keep TJ Jackson, the 34-year-old son of one of Michael Jackson’s brothers, Tito, as a temporary guardian.
TJ Jackson was named temporary guardian last month during an extended absence by Katherine Jackson, who was at a spa in Arizona. Her absence, combined with the children’s inability to contact her, led to a highly publicized family squabble and a series of angry Twitter messages by Paris Jackson, who insinuated some of her relatives were conspiring to keep her grandmother away.
Once Katherine Jackson returned to the Southland, all parties returned to court Aug. 2 with an agreement to have her and TJ Jackson share guardianship duties. Beckloff agreed, pending today’s hearing to finalize the arrangement.
In a sworn declaration submitted to the court earlier this month, Katherine Jackson said she did not know her grandchildren were trying to reach her while she was away for roughly 10 days at a spa in Tucson, Ariz., because an iPad was taken away from her, her room telephone was not working, and her television had sound, but no picture. She said that had she known the three were trying to contact her, she would not have been gone so long.
She also stated that she supports having TJ as co-guardian.
“I am, and have been, very close with my grandson TJ and have relied on him to help me raise Prince, Paris and Blanket since the death of their father,” she said. “While I was away, I assumed that (the children) would be secure and safe in the hands of the person who had essentially been acting as an informal co-guardian on many matters with me since my appointment as guardian.”
She said she realizes certain situations can arise that would require TJ to have legal authority over the three children in order to ensure their safety and welfare.
“This realization is the reason I support TJ’s continuation as a temporary co-guardian … and to serve alone as guardian if there ever becomes a time that I can no longer serve with him as co-guardian,” she said.
Katherine Jackson’s absence coincided with a letter sent by Jackson siblings — Randy, Janet, Jermaine, Tito and Rebbie — to the executors of Michael Jackson’s estate, challenging the validity of his will. They contended Jackson was in New York the day the executors claim he signed the will in Los Angeles.
(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)