With the sudden death of Michael Jackson at his Humby Hills Estate on Thursday, he leaves behind three young children who will need to be placed in the care of others. We understand that they are temporarily with their grandmother, Katherine Jackson. FUNERAL PHOTOS HERE.
There has been much speculation that Jackson’s second wife and dermatology nurse, Debbie Rowe, will become the legal custodian of her two biological children Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., 12, and Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, 11.
Many believed that she gave up custody of these children to Michael Jackson when the couple divorced in 1999. Judge Stephen Lachs presided over their case initially and did grant sole custody to the pop star. He later reversed that decision, reinstating her rights.
It will be up to the Department of Children and Family Services to determine whether she can take on the parenting role for her two pre-teens. In fact, under California law, she IS presumed to be the person who will get custody unless the court determines that such a move would be detrimental to the children.
With a substantial inheritance in the balance, it seems likely that the Jackson family will wage a battle to keep the two children away from Debbie Rowe.
Regarding seven-year-old Prince Michael Jackson II, his situation is slightly different. He was conceived by a surrogate mother, reportedly with sperm donated by Michael Jackson. His maternal parentage has never been revealed.
Michael Jackson’s body was flown by helicopter to the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office for an autopsy – see photos below. Initial results are expected on Friday afternoon, but drug toxicology could take up to 8 weeks.
CUSTODY UPDATE: CNN on Monday, June 29, 2009 reports that Katherine Jackson, mother of Michael Jackson, has petitioned the Los Angeles Probate Court in order to seek legal guardianship of her deceased son’s three children. A court hearing is scheduled for August 3. Joe Jackson told CNN that he and his wife expect to keep the children. He said, “We will get custody and have custody.”
Katherine Jackson also petitioned the court to allow her to become the administrator of the children’s estates (value unknown) and the estate of her deceased son. Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff granted her temporary guardianship but declined to act on the other petitions.
View family photos of Debbie, Michael and the children here and below.