Michael Jackson's mother Katherine Jackson was awarded temporary custody of the deceased singer's three children today, the AP reports. Katherine Jackson will also go to court in order to permanently retain custody of the children, Jackson family attorney L. Londell McMillan told NBC News this morning. Katherine Jackson filed a petition in a Los Angeles Probates Court seeking legal guardianship of the three children, and an August 3rd hearing has been scheduled. Jackson's father Joe seemed certain sure the family would get custody of their grandchildren, telling CNN yesterday, "We're not trying to get custody. We will get custody and have custody."
McMillan told NBC News Jackson's three kids — Prince Michael Jr., 12; Paris Michael Katherine, 11; and Prince Michael II, 7 — should be raised by their grandmother, as Katherine Jackson would provide "a loving and stable environment for the children." According to the petition filed in court, Katherine Jackson claims that the children have "no relationship with their biological mother." Debbie Rowe is the birth mother of Prince Michael Jr. and Paris Michael Katherine. McMillan said that Rowe has made no attempt to seek custody of the children as of yet. Unusually, on the petition, the mother for Jackson's youngest child Prince Michael II was listed as "None," TMZ reports.
After her divorce from Jackson in 1999, Rowe gave up her custody rights until 2003, when a court had her rights restored when Jackson was on trial for child molestation. In 2006, Rowe and Jackson once again worked out a deal that would give Jackson full custodial rights. Legal experts tell the Los Angeles Times that if Rowe were to challenge Katherine Jackson's petition, she would have a good case as the initial waiving of her parental rights for her two children with Jackson would probably be viewed as illegal. If the birth mother of Prince Michael II were to be revealed, she too would likely cause a challenge for Katherine's petition.