No one really knows what’s going on with the Jackson family. Frankly, no one should really care — it should be private. But it’s MJ, so it’s not. There’s some dispute over Michael’s estate, with a few relatives claiming that his signature was forged on the will. There’s a missing but not missing grandmother, Katherine, who was the guardian of Michael’s kids. There was even an alleged attempt to abduct the kids, which led to Janet reportedly slapping teenager Paris, all reported to the masses via TMZ.
Now, in what one hopes will be an end to the family feud, Michael’s nephew, and Tito’s son, Tito Joe “TJ” Jackson has been appointed by the court as the new guardian. The move was supported by the three children, as well as the administrators of the Jackson estate, reports TMZ.
The guardianship is only temporary. TJ will have to file for permanent guardianship before the order expires next month.
Despite the celebrity status of most of the Jackson clan, this really is an ordinary problem that a lot of families will face. Whether the dependents are children of a late relative or a parent that needs a caregiver, often family members will disagree as to the means taken to care for the dependants.
The person whose opinion ultimately triumphs is the legal guardian. The guardian gets the power of attorney to handle a disabled relative's legal matters and manage their finances. Or in the case of children, a guardianship is tantamount to legal custody.
The process to become the guardian isn't easy. For children, the best interests of the child, the wishes of the deceased parents (if known), and the relationships between the children and the competing guardians will all be taken into account when deciding issues of guardianship.
For disabled adults, the process is even more complicated. For one, the disability will have to be verified by a doctor's note. Also, you'll have to fill out a mountain of forms, possibly pay a bond, and notify any others who might contest the guardianship so that they may show up for the hearing.
We wish you more luck than the Jacksons are currently having.
- Speak to an Illinois Family Law Attorney (FindLaw)
- Getting Guardianship of a Disabled Adult (Illinois Legal Aid Society)
- Asking for Guardianship of a Child (Illinois Legal Aid Society)
- More Lessons From TomKat: Child Custody and Religious Disputes? (FindLaw's Chicago Family Law Blog)