MICHAEL JACKSON: Custody deal reached

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July 31, 2009
MICHAEL JACKSON’S DEATH
Custody deal reached <!–10 min–>

The three children have been staying with Katherine Jackson at the musical clan’s compound since their father’s death last month. — PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES – MICHAEL Jackson’s mother is to get permanent custody of the late pop star’s children after agreeing a deal with the singer’s ex-wife, attorneys for the two sides said in a statement Thursday.

The agreement – which averts the possibility of an ugly court case – will see Jackson’s former wife Debbie Rowe receive visitation rights to the two children she bore Jackson, Prince Michael, 12, and Paris, 11.The surrogate mother of Jackson’s third child, seven-year-old Prince Michael II, known as ‘Blanket’, has never been identified.

Rowe will obtain visitation rights for Prince Michael and Paris but would receive no money beyond the spousal agreement already in place – reportedly worth some US$8.5 million (S$12.2 million) – a statement said.

‘Mrs Jackson and the family are pleased this matter is resolved and was handled in a caring, thoughtful and courteous manner by the parties and their representatives,’ Jackson’s lawyers Londell McMillan and Diane Goodman said.

‘We were all united in our goals to do what is best for Michael’s wonderful children, and both Mrs Jackson and Debbie Rowe were on the exact same page.’ The statement said the ‘timing, frequency and manner’ of Ms Rowe’s visits would be determined after consultation with a child psychologist.

The custody agreement would be presented at Los Angeles Superior Court for likely approval by a judge on Monday, the statement added.

Katherine Jackson, 79, was named temporary guardian of her grandchildren at a court hearing in Los Angeles four days after her son’s death on June 25.

A will drawn up by Michael Jackson in 2002 named his mother as the guardian of the youngsters, with Motown legend Diana Ross named as an alternate.

The three children have been staying with Katherine Jackson at the musical clan’s compound since their father’s death last month. — AFP

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