On July 1, we learned from Michael Jackson‘s will that his mother Katherine Jackson was decreed as the sole guardian of his children — Prince Michael Joseph, Paris Michael Katherine and Prince Michael Joseph II a.k.a. Blanket — and no mention was made of biological mother Debbie Rowe. Debbie took the matter to court to fight for custody of her children and for the past few weeks, negotiations have taken place behind closed doors to see if an agreement could be made on custody of the children. It’s been a bit back and forth but progress was made all the while. Today, Katherine‘s lawyer reveals that an agreement has been reached … Katherine will keep custody of the children on the condition that Debbie can have visitation rights. It’s also worth noting that it was made clear that NO MONEY was made part of the custody agreement:
Michael Jackson’s mother will get custody of the late pop star’s three children after reaching a agreement with her son’s ex-wife Debbie Rowe, a lawyer for Katherine Jackson told CBS News on Thursday. Rowe will have “meaningful visitation rights” with her two biological children with Jackson — Prince Michael, 12, and Paris, 11 — U.S. television networks CBS, ABC and NBC reported. The biological mother of Jackson’s third child, Prince Michael II, 7, also known as Blanket, has never been revealed. Jackson’s mother, Katherine, 79, was granted temporary custody of the children after his death on June 25. “It’s an agreement, an agreement for the best interests of the children. This is not a money deal. This is not about money,” Londell McMillan, Katherine Jackson’s attorney, said in a an interview on CBS News’ “The Early Show.” “All of the parties are resolved. There is no situation better for these children than for them to be raised and reared in the loving care of Mrs. Katherine Jackson,” he said. A court hearing in Los Angeles on custody of the children is scheduled for Monday. Jackson said in his 2002 will he wanted his mother to care for the children if he died. The “Thriller” singer left his estate, valued at $500 million in an attachment to his will, to a family trust that benefits his children, his mother and charities. “That estate is worth, in my estimation, a couple of billion dollars,” McMillan said, referring to the value of the estate if it achieves its potential earnings. “You hear $500 million. Don’t buy it.” The coroner’s report on the cause of the singer’s death is still awaiting toxicology and other test results. His burial arrangements have not been announced.
Sounds like a good deal to me … the kids get to stay with the only mother figure they’ve ever known and their biological mother gets to check in on them from time to time to ensure that they are being taken care of. I’m most pleased with the fact that Rowe wanted no monetary settlement as part of the deal (tho, the cynic in me isn’t totally convinced — Katherine‘s lawyer says, “This is not about money”, but that doesn’t expressly mean that money isn’t involved in secret — but I’ll give Rowe the benefit of the doubt). My concern is that at 79 (going on 80) years, Katherine will not be able to care for the children for as long as Debbie might … but something tells me that Debbie doesn’t really want to be a full-time mom anyways. We learned last week that the eldest Jackson sibling, Rebbie Jackson, will be the one to actually care for the children and help raise them … she sounds like the best option of all. Altho the homicide investigation into MJ‘s death has yet to be completed and the toxicology report from his autopsy has been released, at least we can take comfort in the fact that matter of custody of his children has been settled in a fair and equitable manner. On that account, MJ can finally rest in peace.