July 26, 2012 10:08

Michael Jackson's children awarded new guardian following grandmother's absence

Judge awards temporary custody to Tito Jackson, Jr. over concerns grandmother may be 'prevented from acting as guardian'

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The children of the late Michael Jackson have been given a new guardian.

Yesterday (July 24), an LA court awarded temporary guardianship of the three children - 15-year-old Prince, 14-year-old Paris and 10-year-old Blanket - to their cousin, Tito Jackson Jr.

Since their father's death in August 2009, the children's guardian has been their grandmother Katherine Jackson, who is now 82. Concerns were raised over the weekend (July 22) when Paris Jackson tweeted that her grandmother was "missing" from their California home and had not been seen by the children in a week. Katherine's son, Jermaine, later insisted that the matriarch is "safe and well" and staying with a family member in Arizona.

At a hearing in LA yesterday (July 24), Katherine's attorney told the court that "we have reason to believe that Mrs. Jackson has been held against her will", prompting judge Mitchell Beckloff to grant temporary custody to Tito Jr. Explaining his decision, the judge reasoned that Katherine may be "prevented from acting as a guardian because of the acts of third parties".

He also ordered that Michael Jackson's children "not be removed from California without a court order, by any person". Yesterday (July 24), it was reported that a physical altercation ensued between Paris Jackson and her aunt Janet after Michael's siblings reportedly attempted to "strong-arm" the children into a vehicle to take them to visit their grandmother in Arizona.

The temporary guardianship order will be reconsidered at a new hearing next month (August). However, judge Beckloff also stated that Katherine's guardianship could be restored sooner if she returns to her California home.

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