With the death of Michael Jackson, comes the question “Who will raise his children?” Will his parents or another member of his family have custody, or will Jackson’s ex-wife (and biological mother to his two oldest) Debbie Rowe get them?
According to RadarOnline, Jackson wanted his mom to raise his kids should anything ever happen to him while they are minors:
Michael Jackson wanted his mother to raise his children if anything ever happened to him, Joe and Katherine Jackson’s attorney Debra Opri reveals to RadarOnline.com exclusively.
“Katherine will be the custodial parent for the kids. It was understood that Katherine is the best person to take care of the children as she can provide a stable, loving environment for the kids. The children will remain with Katherine, and she should raise them,” Opri tells RadarOnline.com.
Opri began working with Michael’s parents during his molestation trial in Santa Maria, California and still continues to work with them. Opri addressed Debbie Rowe stating, “I believe she surrendered her custodial rights to the children, but I’m sure that this will eventually be heard in court or arbitration.”
According to TMZ, Rowe, who married Jackson in 1996, and divored him in 1999, did not legally give up her parental rights to Michael Jr., 12, and daughter Paris, 11. Under California law, Debbie is entitled to custody of the children providing it’s not detrimental to them. How is it she did not give up her rights, if that’s what has been previously claimed?
During the custody fight that Rowe had with Jackson in 2005, she attempted to give up her parental rights, saying Michael was the greatest father ever. Retired Judge Stephen Lachs, who presided over the hearing, initially ruled her rights were terminated … but then Lachs reversed his decision.
Here’s what happened. We spoke with Lance Spiegel, the lawyer who repped Jackson at the time. Spiegel says under the law, the Department of Children and Family Services must conduct a parental fitness investigation before parental rights are terminated and that didn’t happen with Rowe.
Rowe’s former attorney, Iris Finsilver, has “no idea” if she will want custody of the children, but will support her if she does decide to go that route. “I support her 1000 percent.”
Finsilver says Rowe is “inconsolable” since Michael’s unexpected passing, and “will always love Michael and she always considered him a dear friend.”
The Jackson family say the kids don’t even know Rowe, and they must “stay within the family.”
So, will this turn into some huge custody battle? Besides the question of who will raise the children, there is going to be money involved – whoever gets the kids will be entitled to a large child support dollar amount to help care for the kids. Is greed going to come into play or will all involved think of the children?
Michael’s kids apparently don’t know Debbie Rowe (it’s unclear if she’s had any contact with them over the years, but rumored to be not or very little), but are his parents and extended family strangers to the kids as well?
Let’s hope this doesn’t drag out into the courts for months and years to come. Hopefully Michael’s will left clear cut instructions as to where he wanted his kids to be placed.