Jackson Nephew TJ Given Custody Of Children

Jackson Nephew TJ Given Custody Of Children

Michael Jackson's nephew will share guardianship responsibilities for the singer's three children, a US judge has ruled.

TJ Jackson was appointed as the siblings' co-guardian despite a last-minute effort by some relatives to delay the decision.

Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff's decision means the 34-year-old will now share responsibilities for Prince, 15, Paris, 14, and Blanket Jackson, 10.

He made the ruling after considering a letter submitted by singer Diana Ross, who was named in Michael Jackson's will as a potential guardian, and a letter presented by cousins of the singer who sought a delay in the appointment.

Debra Jackson and her son Anthony urged Beckloff to delay his ruling, saying they were concerned that family matriarch Katherine Jackson was being coerced.

The pair said they had been ostracised from the family and that the children may not be as excited about TJ Jackson's appointment as had been presented to the judge.

But Judge Beckloff noted that all three children had said they consented to the co-guardianship, and that an independent investigation he ordered showed they "have a very strong, loving relationship with TJ Jackson."

He urged TJ Jackson to consider allowing the cousins to visit the family, but said there was no reason to delay.

The appointment means that Katherine, 82, and TJ Jackson will share responsibilities for raising the children. If one of them is no longer able to serve, the other would become the children's sole guardian.

TJ Jackson appeared in court for the hearing, but was escorted by deputies and did not speak to reporters afterward.

Katherine Jackson's attorney, Sandra Ribera, disputed Debra Jackson and her son Anthony's claims that her client was being improperly influenced.

She said: "Mrs Jackson is well informed. (She) is a strong woman who cannot be influenced by anyone when it comes to decisions about these children."

Judge Beckloff has said Katherine Jackson is doing a great job raising Prince, Paris and Blanket, but noted that having a co-guardian would allow for continuity in their lives if she is no longer able to look after them.

The mother of the two eldest children, Deborah Rowe, has indicated she is comfortable with the arrangement. Michael Jackson's youngest son, Blanket, was born to a surrogate and his mother's identity has never been revealed.