Michael Jackson’s memorial service will be held Tuesday but the fate of his children is far from settled.
Jackson’s ex-wife Debbie Rowe has not said that she intends to fight for custody of two of Jackson’s children, but she did win a court delay that would enable her to prepare for a custody battle. Rowe’s children with Jackson are: Michael Joseph “Prince” Jr., 12, and Paris Michael Katherine, 11.
Jackson has a third child Prince Michael Jackson II, 7, with an as yet unidentified woman.
Jackson’s will stated that his 79-year-old mother Katherine Jackson should raise the children if he died.
However, the Boston Herald.com reports that Rowe has a good chance to win:
” ‘You cannot pass on your children like a stamp collection or a stock portfolio,’ said Suffolk University law professor Erik Pritchal. ‘While the parent’s choice carries some weight, the court makes the final decision based on what is best for the children at the time of death – which may be different than how it looked to the parent at the time he wrote the will.’ ” …
” ‘California law is very clear that when there are two parents with legal rights, and the custodial parent dies, the children can only go to the person named in the custodial parent’s will if the surviving parent consents,’ Pritchal said. ‘The reality is that she is the mother and she is the only legal parent they have.’ ” …
” ‘The only way a nonparent such as Katherine Jackson can take custody away from a parent is to prove that Katherine herself has played the role of parent for the children – providing day-to-day care – for a substantial period of time, and that it would be detrimental to send the kids to the mother,’ Pritchal said.”
The third child will likely stay with Katherine Jackson unless the mother comes forward.
The family will be back in court on July 13.
So what do you think: Should Debbie Rowe regain custody of the two oldest children? Is Michael’s mother too old to take care of them? Is it wrong to break up the three children? Who do you think would do the best job raising the children now that Michael is gone? Who would give them the greatest chance at a normal life?