Jackson judge orders probe into children's welfare

Associated Press Modified: July 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm •  Published: July 27, 2012
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — 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 of the children with the adult son of Tito Jackson.

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 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 received a similar report a few weeks after Jackson's death in 2009 and its contents remain sealed.

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, the 82-year-old Jackson 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.

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.

A formal filing for co-guardianship is expected 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.

TJ Jackson's attorneys suggest the co-guardianship arrangement in a filing Friday. It states that if either adult guardian dies or is unable to serve, the other will act alone in raising the children.

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