Michael Jackson's ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, is poised to take full custody of the two kids she had with the superstar, who died of cardiac arrest yesterday.
It is widely reported that Debbie Rowe gave up her parental rights to Paris Jackson and Michael Jr. (a.k.a. Prince Michael Jackson). That is not true.
During the custody fight that Rowe had with Jackson in 2005, she attempted to give up her parental rights, saying MJ was the greatest father ever.
Retired Judge Stephen Lachs, who presided over the hearing, initially ruled her rights were terminated ... but Lachs later reversed that decision.
Lance Spiegel, a lawyer who represented Jackson at the time, says that under the law, the Department of Children and Family Services must conduct a parental fitness investigation before parental rights are terminated.
That didn't actually happen with Rowe.
He's the one known for wearing masks, but Debbie Rowe, former wife of Michael Jackson, has been shrouded in mystery before and after marriage.
Essentially, Debbie Rowe never gave up anything. As a result, under California law, Rowe is now presumed to be the person who will get custody of the kids.
The only way Rowe can be denied custody is if a court determines it would be "detrimental to the children." Considering they lived with Michael Jackson, that seems unlikely. As for whether Rowe will ask for custody, sources say bet on it.
According to a source close to the situation quoted by TMZ, if Rowe gets custody she will receive "a huge amount of child support from Jackson's estate."
Michael never identified the mother of his youngest child, Prince Michael Jackson II, a.k.a. "Blanket." Who will end up with custody of Blanket is unclear.
The exact cause of Jackson's death is also unclear, although speculation has already arisen that a prescription drug overdose may be responsible.
Here's a picture of Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe in happier times ...