Pop culture fans in West Palm Beach may be interested to know that the most recent topic of dispute among Michael Jackson's siblings and relatives appears to have been resolved. On August 29, over the objections of some family members, a judge approved an order establishing guardianship of the pop star's three children.
Guardianship of the children, aged 10 to 15, had previously been granted to the children's 82-year-old grandmother. The appropriateness of the grandmother serving as sole guardian came into question last month when she took a spa vacation with relatives and could not be reached by other family members.
The latest court order retains the grandmother's status as a guardian, but appoints the pop star's 34-year-old nephew as co-guardian. Co-guardianship has the advantage of providing continuity in the children's care in the event that the grandmother is no longer able to serve, but co-guardianship also poses potential difficulties that may come into play.
Co-guardians typically must share the responsibility of caring for their wards and are required to agree upon major decisions affecting the wards' interests. Another incommunicado trip by the grandmother could interfere with joint decision-making. If there is any truth to claims by cousins that the grandmother was coerced into relinquishing sole guardianship, the ability of the co-guardians to agree may soon be tested.
Despite the cousins' objections, the judge noted that all three children had consented to the guardianship arrangement. The judge said that the grandmother had been doing a fine job as guardian, but an independent investigation determined that the children also had a strong relationship with the pop star's nephew. With two willing and apparently capable guardians in place, the future care of the pop star's children will hopefully remain secure.
Source: The Washington Times, "Taking Names: Judge makes guardianship of Jackson children official," Aug. 22, 2012