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Judge Grants Shared Custody of Kids to Michael’s Nephew, T.J. Jackson

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff made it official: TJ Jackson will share the responsibility of raising Michael Jackson’s three children with their grandmother, Katherine Jackson.

Based on this shared custody arrangement, if one of them is no longer able to serve as guardian, the other would become the sole guardian.

A letter submitted by Diana Ross—who Michael named in his will as a potential guardian—played a part in the judge’s ruling. The letter was not made available, but after Ross visited the children in Calabasas earlier this month, she agreed to the custody arrangement, according to a lawyer who represents the children, Margaret Lodise.

Tito Joe (T.J.) Jackson, 34, and his grandmother Katherine, 82, will share responsibility for raising Prince, 15, Paris, 14, and Blanket, 10.

The judge said Mrs. Jackson was doing a good job of raising Michael’s children, but he noted that having a co-guardian would allow for continuity in their lives if she was no longer able to serve.

After the ruling Katherine’s lawyer, Sandra Ribera, said Katherine approved of the judge’s decision.

“Mrs Jackson is a well-informed, strong woman who makes her own decisions and can’t be influenced by anyone when it comes to these children,” she said.

Apparently, Debbie Rowe, mother of Prince and Paris, has also indicated she is comfortable with the custody arrangement. The youngest son, Prince Michael II, nicknamed Blanket, was born to a surrogate and his mother’s identity has never been revealed.

The family’s turmoil has fascinated the nation over the summer—in the same way as a car crash fascinates onlookers. It is unclear how much damage has been done to the Jackson brand, but all indications are it will be difficult for the public to take them seriously for a long time.

Jermaine Jackson has said he regrets that things were allowed to get to the point where it was causing distress to his mother Katherine and to Michael’s three children. Because Jermaine and his siblings removed Katherine from the family home in Calabasas and brought her to Arizona for 10 days, a Los Angeles judge took away her guardianship and granted custody to her grandson T.J., Tito’s son.

The matter came to a head when Janet, Randy and Jermaine went to the Calabasas home to talk to the children and the matter escalated into a physical confrontation that was partially captured on surveillance video. Since then, the estate has barred them from visiting the house.

“Enough has become enough… After much soul-searching, it is clearly time for us to live by Michael’s words about love not war,” Jermaine stated. “Accordingly, I rescind my signature from the letter which was sent to the Estate, and which should never have gone public.”

He said he still holds “deep reservations about many issues involving the Estate” and “will continue to bring scrutiny and a resolute voice wherever we have cause for concern”—but in the future he will do it in private.

“My primary concern has only ever been rooted in the welfare of our mother in the environment where she lives,” he continues. “We are also still raw from the loss of Michael three years ago. … So when it comes to the well-being of loved ones, and especially our mother, we are perhaps understandably and unapologetically over-protective.”

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