By Anthony McCartney Associated press
LOS ANGELES — A judge on Friday ordered an investigation into the well-being of Michael Jackson’s children and a lawyer for the family matriarch said she will move to share guardianship with another adult relative.
Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff told a court investigator to interview the three children independently and provide a report for review only by the judge, not attorneys involved in the case.
The order does not spell out a reason for the investigation, but it is likely intended to give the judge another perspective on how Jackson’s children are coping after a week of family turmoil that has included the absence of their grandmother and a dispute in the driveway of their home amid a feud over the estate of the pop superstar.
The court investigator was ordered to interview the children at school at a time to remain undisclosed.
Beckloff said during a hearing earlier this week that there were no indications that Katherine Jackson had done anything wrong.
Under the proposed guardianship change, Jackson, 82, would share oversight of the children with Tito Jackson’s son in a deal that would relieve her of some of the day-to-day stresses of managing a famous family, her attorney Perry Sanders Jr. said Friday.
The decision was made after a meeting between Katherine Jackson and Sanders on Thursday. He said Michael Jackson’s eldest son has told attorneys he approves of the arrangement.
The proposed arrangement could be presented to a judge next week. If approved, it would make Tito Joe “TJ” Jackson a co-guardian of the children — Prince, Paris and Blanket — who range in ages from 10 to 15.
Under the plan, responsibility for managing staff and security at the home would shift to TJ Jackson. Katherine Jackson would keep control of a family allowance worth tens of thousands of dollars a month, Sanders said.
“Mrs. Jackson is extremely pleased with the prospect of enjoying the pleasure of raising Michael’s children without the day-to-day tedium of items such as managing the large staff that goes with such a high-profile family and focus her attention on being a grandmother and raising Michael’s children,” Sanders wrote in a statement.
“She is eager to simply enjoy her great relationship with these children, while deeding over some of the stressors that go hand in hand with being a guardian,” he wrote.
A judge on Wednesday suspended Katherine Jackson’s guardianship duties temporarily and appointed TJ Jackson as temporary guardian. He was expected to file a petition on Friday to become the children’s permanent guardian, but Sanders said that is a formality meant to abide by court orders.
Beckloff said he would likely re-instate Katherine Jackson as guardian upon her return.
Katherine Jackson had been at a Tucson, Ariz., spa since July 15 with her daughter Rebbie and other relatives and had not spoken to her grandchildren during that time.