As the battle over Michael's Jackson's estimated $1 billion estate continues, temporary guardianship has been granted to his brother Tito, after concerns of the well-being of Michael's mother Katherine arose, the children's guardian, while she was away in Arizona.
Retired Superior Court Judge of Santa Clara, California, Eugene Hyman says that the courts look at what's in the best interest of the children first and unfortunately, a lot of parents think it's about them. In dependency court, you have social workers who generate information and investigations for the judge. In probate court, however, it is a party that is moving. Someone is coming forward and saying the court needs to be aware that something is going on and as a result, there is an emergent situation and the court needs to make temporary orders.
Judge Hyman says the court has probate investigators and depending on the the local culture, the court may be using those investigators to get some independent information for the court or may not, depending on the financial situation of the court and the availability of the investigators. He says that in L.A., they probably won't be able to do that because of financial difficulties. In Santa Clara, where he resided, he would have had an investigator get him some information, even in a temporary situation.
Looking at the declarations, it's always going to be painted in a direction of seriousness in order to get the court to do something, Hyman says. He adds that in most of these situations, the respondant has not had a chance to respond because the moving parties say there isn't time. In this case, although the kids are older, they still are alone and the actual guardian is out of state and has not put something in play for the kids to be safe and so, the court needs to do something on an emergency basis.
Ulimately, Hyman says, there will be another hearing where the actual guardian will give her information to the court. While he is not aprised as to whether or not the temporary guardian is requesting to be permanently replaced in terms of Mrs. Jackson, right now it's only a temporary request. Being that Mrs. Jackson is elderly, however, Hyman thinks that at some point, someone is going to try and replace her.
Hyman speculates that this very well could be a vieled attempt to get control of Michael's estate but without more information, it's hard for him to say. If he was the probate judge, he would want to get a lot more information before he would do any changing with respect to guardianship.
Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows. For more information, visit www.judgehyman.com. He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast Network.