Katherine Jackson will remain the guardian of her son Michael's three children after reaching an agreement with the biological mother of Jackson's two eldest kids, Debbie Rowe, the Los Angeles Times reports. Under the terms of the deal, Katherine Jackson will retain custody while Rowe has been granted visitation and other legal parental rights. Both sides said that Rowe did not receive any money from this new pact. Katherine Jackson was named the children's guardian in Jackson's 2002 will.
A child psychologist will be hired to determine when and where Rowe's visits should be conducted, the L.A. Times writes. The fees of the child psychologist will be split between Jackson and Rowe, who has not seen Prince Michael and Paris Jackson in several years since relinquishing her parental rights in 2001. According to sources close to the negotiation, Rowe never sought custody of the children after Michael's death, and neither Rowe nor Katherine Jackson made requests that were rejected. The agreement will go before a judge next Monday, August 3rd.
Under the terms of Michael Jackson's 2002 will, had Katherine Jackson been unable to serve as guardian of the children — Katherine turned 79 on May 4th — Michael named longtime friend Diana Ross as an alternate guardian. Jackson's 2002 will also made it a point of omitting Rowe, who Jackson divorced in 2000, and preventing her getting any money from the Michael Jackson Family Trust, which both Jackson's children and Katherine Jackson have a 40 percent stake in. The remaining 20 percent will benefit charities.
Yesterday, Michael's father Joe Jackson seemed to acknowledge in an interview with NewsOne that 25-year-old Norwegian musician Omer Bhatti is Michael's son, even though Bhatti himself denied the allegations earlier this week. Bhatti was seen at Jackson's memorial sitting front row with the family. "I knew that he had another son," Joe said. "Yes I did. He looks like a Jackson, he acts like a Jackson, he can dance like a Jackson." Bhatti, along with his parents and sister, lived for eight years at the Neverland Ranch, with Bhatti's mother Pia serving as a nanny to Michael's oldest son Prince Michael.
• Michael Jackson's Will Filed, Names Diana Ross as Guardian
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• Jackson Family Challenges 2002 Will, Denies Abuse Accusations