Jackson children to stay with grandmother, judge rules

A Los Angeles judge today reinstated Katherine Jackson as the guardian of Michael Jackson's three children in an arrangement that also keeps their cousin as temporary co-guardian.

Jackson children to stay with grandmother, judge rules

A Los Angeles judge today 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."

The judge 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 Mrs Jackson since Michael died.

TJ is "incredibly respectful" of the family matriarch and she is respectful of him, the judge said.

The judge will finalise the arrangement later 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 Mrs 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 Mrs Jackson was reported missing but later turned up at an Arizona spa with family members.

The changes in guardianship come on the heels of family dissension over Michael'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.

The dispute at one point led to a driveway confrontation involving several family members at the Calabasas mansion where Katherine Jackson and the children have been living.

Yesterday, Jermaine Jackson issued a plea for peace in the family and withdrew his support of the letter.

"Mistakes have been made and irrational things have been said on both sides in a highly charged emotional environment," Jermaine Jackson wrote. "It is time for us all to draw a line in the sand and move toward peace, co-operation, love and healing."

He wrote that the family is still raw from Michael's death, and his mother has endured incredible stress and pressures since then.

Another party to the Jackson family drama, singer Diana Ross, who was named by Michael Jackson in his will as a potential guardian of the children if Mrs Jackson was not available, issued a statement saying the recent turmoil is a private matter and shouldn't be playing out publicly.

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