Katherine Jackson to share custody of Michael Jackson's children
Michael Jackson’s mother has agreed to share custody of the late pop star’s three children with the grandson currently serving as their temporary guardian, her lawyer said Friday.
Katherine Jackson will file papers next week asking a Los Angeles judge to name Tito Joe “T.J.” Jackson, 34, as co-guardian, according to a statement released by attorney Perry R. Sanders Jr.
The 82-year-old matriarch was stripped of guardianship Wednesday amid allegations that some of her children were holding her against her will at an Arizona spa. Katherine Jackson returned to Los Angeles on Thursday and announced her intention to regain guardianship of Prince, 15, Paris, 14 and Blanket, 10.
But after a meeting with her lawyer, the children, and T.J. Jackson, she concluded he should remain in an official role, the statement said. T.J. Jackson, 34, has been closely involved in the children’s upbringing, attending school conferences and dealing with teachers, the statement said.
The joint arrangement “will essentially now legally reflect how Mrs. Jackson and T.J. have often shared responsibilities of raising the children since Michael Jackson’s tragic passing,” Sanders wrote.
T.J. Jackson will oversee the staff and security at the Calabasas home while Katherine Jackson will keep control of the children’s financial allowance from the singer’s estate, according to the 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,” Sanders wrote.
The entire statement:
Later this morning, TJ Jackson's attorney, Charles Shultz, will be filing a petition for TJ to be appointed permanent guardian of Michael Jackson's three children. The court ordered that this petition be filed pursuant to the temporary guardianship he granted TJ on Wednesday of this week. However, after a very productive meeting yesterday, first between Mrs. Jackson and me, and then joined by Prince Jackson, TJ Jackson and Mr. Shultz, it was agreed by all that it is in the best interest of Mrs. Jackson and the children to file a modified joint pleading at the beginning of next week. With some changes, that pleading will essentially now legally reflect how Mrs. Jackson and TJ have often shared responsibilities of raising the children since Michael Jackson's tragic passing. Following reaching agreement, Margaret Lodise, the court appointed guardian ad litem for the children, was brought into the meeting by conference call. Ms. Lodise confirmed with Prince that the agreement reflected the wishes of all the children. The joint filing will request that the court reinstate Mrs. Jackson and appoint TJ as a co-guardian of Michael's children. If the court grants this joint request, it will eliminate concerns such as the ones triggered by the events of the last few days. It will also empower TJ to take joint legal responsibility for certain day to day duties such as the management of household personnel, including security. It will also make clear for school personnel and anyone else coming into contact with the children that TJ is authorized to act on their behalf. TJ has frequently attended school conferences and dealt with school related matters and this agreement, if approved by the court, allows for continuity as sanctioned by the court. Mrs. Jackson will then be freed up to focus on the more personal everyday decision making related to the lives and activities of the children. She would also remain in control of the children's family allowance. 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. She greatly appreciates the recent love and concern that supporters have shown for her and the kids, and she hopes the court will grant this request for co-guardianship. 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.
Once the joint filing is made next week, it will be served on all interested parties and the specifics of what is being requested will be spelled out in the public record. Until then, no further official comment about guardianship will be made.
-- Harriet Ryan
Photo: Katherine Jackson arrives at a Los Angeles courthouse in November 2011. Credit: Frederic J. Brown / AFP/Getty Images