Katherine Jackson Gets Custody of MJ's Kids
Deborah Rowe, Katherine Jackson
Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine, has drafted an agreement with Deborah Rowe that designates Jackson as the guardian of the pop legend's three children and allows Rowe visitation rights with the older two children.
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The agreement, which will be presented to a Los Angeles superior court for approval Aug. 3, allows Rowe to visit with the two older children, to whom she gave birth while married to Michael Jackson. The time and frequency of the visits will be determined by a child psychologist hired jointly by Katherine Jackson and Rowe.
Neither party sought nor agreed to exchange compensation, according to a summary of the agreement. Spousal-support payments previously agreed upon by Rowe and Michael Jackson will continue, however.
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"The parties engaged in a dignified discussion that resulted in a dignified outcome," Rowe's attorney Eric George said in a statement to TVGuide.com. "The sole consideration between the parties was the best interests of the children. I'm proud to have worked with such professionals who represented Ms. Jackson, and I am particularly proud of Deborah for her integrity and selflessness."
Michael Jackson's will expressed the singer's desire to have his mother take care of his children. However, Rowe, who relinquished her parental rights after she and Jackson divorced in 2000, also expressed interest in raising the children. A court named Katherine Jackson the temporary guardian and Rowe won a delay in the guardianship hearing in order to decide whether or not she would seek custody.
"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," Katherine Jackson's attorneys, L. Londell McMillan and Diane Goodman, said in a statement. "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. Accordingly, although important issues had to be resolved, this was no legal contest but rather simply a process doing the right thing for the right reasons."