Along with being a music legend and being the King of Pop: Michael Jackson was father to three. They are rarely seen in public, and when they are, it is usually with their faces masked or veiled. Their father was always by their side. His two oldest children Michael Joseph, Jr, and Paris Michael Katherine were born to his then wife, Debbie Rowe. His youngest, Prince “Blanket” Michael II was born via a surrogate mother. Now that the music icon has passed, the question now is who will get custody of them?
Normally, the kids would simply go and live with their Mother but Debbie Rowe gave up her prenatal rights. In the court papers uncovered by TMZ, Rowe is asked specifically about understanding what it meant to give up her parental rights. And in one telling question she is asked, “have you ever considered the possibility if Michael should die, what would happen to the children?” Her answer was, “I’m sure he’s he has a wonderful person in mind to take care of them.” Blanket’s surrogate mother also waived her paternal rights.
At the present time, it is not known whether Jackson ever wrote a will delineating who would have custody of his children or his estate when he died. He is survived by his parents, his ex-wife Rowe and his eight siblings, including famous younger sister Janet Jackson. (First wife, Lisa-Marie Presley, is not expected to lay claim to any part of his estate.)
When thinking about what’s in the best interest of the children, it is best they be with the only family they have ever known. Most are theorizing that Jackson’s intention for his children was to pass to his mother, Katherine, the matriarch of the Jackson clan. Michael once referred to his mother as his “life and soul.”
Brian Oxman, a Jackson family lawyer said “I do not know of any kind of will or estate planning that Michael would have made, but I know that he believed that if anything ever happened to him that his mother was a wonderful caretaker.”
While Rowe is biologically related to two of the three children, there is very little chance that she would regain her parental rights after publicly and flatly waiving them in court.
“There’s no judge on the planet that would give a woman like that custody of these children. She basically treated them like loaves of bread,” said Wendy Murphy, a prosecutor and child advocate, who noted that 20 years of legal trends indicate that the contract will win out. “Whoever does have custody of the children ultimately will have access to whatever remains of his estate,” said Murphy. “Katherine, I think, if there is no will, will probably prevail because she’s probably the relative that the courts will see as most appropriate.”
“It is always complicated when there is not a will, but I can assure you that Michael Jackson crossed his T’s and dotted his I’s when it came to his children,” said Debra Opri, a former Jackson family spokeswoman. “That means he made sure that there’s something in writing saying who is going to take care of the kids and what was going to be done for them.”
Jackson, who was believed to be $400 million in debt, also held giant assets, including the rights to his own mega-hits and a 50 percent stake in the company that owns the majority of the Beatles’ catalog.