Who should rear Michael Jackson’s kids?

Michael Jackson’s memorial service will be held Tuesday but the fate of his children is far from settled.

Should Debbie Rowe get custody of the two oldest Jackson kids? (AP File Photo)

Should Debbie Rowe get custody of the two oldest Jackson kids? (AP File Photo)

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?

58 comments Add your comment

Andrea

July 6th, 2009
7:30 am

Debbie Rowe SOLD her children TWICE (once originally and when she “renegotiated” – i.e. more money – her custody arrangement in 2006) and in my book, that negates any attempt for her to be a parent. I don’t mean to sound harsh but renting out your uterus does not make you a parent.

FCM

July 6th, 2009
8:09 am

I think that this should have been stipulated in the custody arranagements during the divorce or in 2006. I believe the judge will ask the older children (Rowe’s) how they feel about it and whom they want to be with, that would be taken into consideration. Mr. Jackson’s Will would be taken into consideration. According to MSNBC Rowe does want custody of all 3 children.

Mostly it is not up to the public to decide and should not be debated by us.

motherjanegoose

July 6th, 2009
8:41 am

Just back from a wonderful week at the beach. I am trying to catch up on last week’s guest bloggers and have enjoyed reading them so much.

I am wondering if these children would have a “normal” life in either camp. Although…what is normal now a days?

If Debbie Rowe stands to obtain more $$$, would this play into the situation that she now wants the kids? Does she have her own career and/or what has she been doing?

Belle

July 6th, 2009
8:43 am

His mother should keep custody. It was what he wanted and Debbie signed away all her rights years ago. If she tries to get them now it is just for any money that may come along with them. And considering how far into debt he was…there may not be much money. So what then? If she does not get money will she dump the kids again?

JJ

July 6th, 2009
9:48 am

Once again, who cares? Children of celebrities have nothing to do with me and my life. I will NOT worry about this.

Michelle

July 6th, 2009
10:04 am

I think either way the kids are going to suffer. I think it is just a sad situation all the way around.

Robin

July 6th, 2009
10:05 am

I don’t know. I hope someone who can give these unfortunate children a chance at normalcy. They didn’t stand a chance being raised by MJ, maybe they will now have a chance. I don’t think their biological mother is a good option. She sold her children twice, and I am sure she will try to get them now for the $$$$. Katherine Jackson is not a spring chicken, and though I am sure she loves those children deeply, what happens if she dies? Could one of the Jackson siblings raise the children to become well adjusted adults?

pd

July 6th, 2009
10:08 am

If they just randomly pick someone out of the phone book, they’re gonna be better off than they were with their father.

Denise

July 6th, 2009
10:25 am

I don’t see where Ms. Rowe has any legal claim to the children if she “sold” her parental rights. Should Katherine Jackson get custody of the young children? I don’t know. She’s elderly and if there is no plan for who will raise them when she dies then it’s not a better situation. Also, Joe Jackson screwed up his kids so I don’t know if I’d want the kids with his crazy tail. It seems like the kids can get screwed up in all the scenarios. Clearly they know their mother sold them so why would they all of a sudden warm to her? I feel sad for the kids.

Becky

July 6th, 2009
10:44 am

pd, I’m with you..These poor kids should not be anywhere near most of the Jacksons..If anyone in the family should get them, it should be Rebbie..Joe should not be allowed to be with them unless someone is there to monitor him..As others said, the birth Mother sold them, so she should also be nowhere near them..

Jesse's Girl

July 6th, 2009
10:54 am

They should give them to me….one week with us and they would be joyfully abonormally normal!

RJ

July 6th, 2009
11:17 am

How ridiculous to think that they shouldn’t be anywhere near the only family that they know! Since none of us know any of the Jackson family personally, we shouldn’t pass judgement. There seems to be bigger issues here since Michael never adopted these kids. I am hopeful that the best decision will be made for these kids and that they have some say in where they live.

motherjanegoose

July 6th, 2009
11:38 am

HAHA…Jesse’s girl!

I think we have a somewhat normal family…i.e.: mealtimes together, knowing our neighbors, chores, bedtimes, jobs, paying our bills, enjoying our pets, church, volunteering, homework etc. But when I look around and see what is going on in our community…perhaps we are abnormal.

Anymore, I wonder what is normal and know that it will be different when my kids are my age.

DB

July 6th, 2009
11:46 am

Yeah, Kathryn and Joe Jackson did such a great job raising a normal kid like Michael — yep, put the kids with her, that’s the ticket . . . NOT! Those who disparage Ms. Rowe forget that she did not “sell” her kids, precisely, but was the victim of the phenomenonal steamroller that was Michael Jackson & Company that could insist on “buying” her off, regardless of her wishes. Prenups, etc., would have been vastly in Jackson’s favor. People in Jackson’s position solve their problems and wishes by throwing their money at it, so I don’t think we should be so quick to judge Ms. Rowe and her purported money-grubbing ways. How would someone of her means have been able to effectively fight the Jackson machine, who could casually throw $20 million at someone as hush-money to avert child molestation charges? They would have ground her to dust if she hadn’t gone along with it.

Anne

July 6th, 2009
12:16 pm

DB – there is not enough money in the world to make me hand over my children to my husband or anyone if we divorced. As weird as Michael Jackson was and the molestation rumors, no judge would have denied Debbie Rowe those kids. That’s why he offered her money to relinquish her rights. I don’t know who should raise those kids but I truly don’t think it should be Debbie Rowe, because her motives don’t appear to be sincere. Now having said that, I would not allow Joe Jackson anywhere near them either.

FCM

July 6th, 2009
12:53 pm

Will says that if Kathrine dies Diana Ross is to raise the kids.

M

July 6th, 2009
1:04 pm

News break – It has been reported that Joe and Katherine Jackson are only legally married but haven’t lived together in years. He lived in Vegas. She’s in California. MJ’s will stipulated that Diana Ross would take the kids if his mom couldn’t. If you didn’t know, Diana Ross has 4 (or 5) kids that are well educated and drama free. Two are actors, not sure of the careers of the others. They were not in the public eye as children. From what I’ve seen of them, she did a great job. I’m sure MJ saw that too.

new mom

July 6th, 2009
1:30 pm

This will never happen, but I think their only chance at ‘normalcy’ at this point would be to change their identities (similar to witness protection) and let a family, maybe in the midwest, raise them. Let them work on a farm, attend school, do normal kid stuff, and get as far as they can from anyone connected to their sad past.

No Name Today

July 6th, 2009
1:48 pm

Ummmm I need blood test to prove that any of these children are actually biologically related to any of these people, or to each other for that matter. I think they were all conceived from donor eggs and donor sperm. I loved MJ’s music, but I don’t believe for one minute that he is the biological father of those children. Those poor kids are going to end up wards of the court until they are 18 and can claim their independence and their trust funds.

Denise

July 6th, 2009
1:58 pm

No Name Today, I think it’s already been stated that MJ is not the biological dad of the kids. Shoot, those kids have nary a bit of color! Michael’s ORIGINAL color should have given the kids at least a little bit of brownness. (smile)

Belle

July 6th, 2009
2:04 pm

Diana Ross would be a great person to care for them if his mother is unable to.

Andrea

July 6th, 2009
2:04 pm

I don’t think the amount of pigment is a determining factor in making the kids Michael’s children. He considered them to be his children and treated them as his children. So, he was their parent.

Jesse's Girl

July 6th, 2009
2:52 pm

That may well be…however, if a custody battle ensues….biology gets first dibs unless proven unfit. Michael..while a musical genius…hated being black. Jesus would have to descend from on high to tell me in person that Michael suffered from a “pigment problem”. He just wasn’t comfortable being a black man. He bleached his skin and made his features more white because that is what he coveted. There’s no way on Earth he would have procreated naturally…passing down the very genes he loathed would have been unacceptable.

I agree…those kids need to be raised by someone like the Duggers! And now….I am officially done talking about MJ.

DB

July 6th, 2009
3:02 pm

Anne: It’s not just a question of money and “handing your kids over”. You say that there is “not enough money in the world”, but I suspect that you probably haven’t been exposed to the vast amounts of money and power we are talking about, not to mention the peculiar circumstances of her insemination and marriage. At that level of stratospheric popularity and money, there is a great deal of power and influence that you may have some trouble wrapping your head around.

Debbie Rowe was a nobody, a star-struck assistant in Michael’s dermatologist’s office, who agreed to be a breeder for Jackson when he expressed a desire to be a father following his breakup from Lisa Marie Presley. She was artifically inseminated with the first two children, and after childbirth problems with the second child, she was unable to have more children, and was basically disposed of. She didn’t marry Jackson until she was six months pregnant with the first child. They never had what we, in Atlanta suburbia (and even ITP!), would consider a “normal” marriage and family life.

All of which is mildly interesting, but basically has no effect whatsoever on my life at all. I think Michael Jackson was a musical genius in his own way, but this near-sainthood that he has been imbued with after his death is faintly nauseating in view of the multiple child molestation issues that kept recurring.

new mom

July 6th, 2009
3:25 pm

Theresa, how is your brother doing?

RJ

July 6th, 2009
3:28 pm

I am disgusted by the presumptions made about this man! Gimme a break! Bleached his skin? I have a friend that has vitiligo and her skin changed the same way MJ’s did. I was shocked when she showed me a speck of dark skin on her knuckle and said that she used to be that color. When she wore a dress one day it was evident. Her legs are much more blotchy than her face, legs, neck or arms. This is a real disease. Stop the madness!

None of you knew Michael Jackson, nor do you know his family. I’m sure I could come to your house and find what I consider abnormal habits. No, he didn’t father these children, but since when does biology determine who is really a parent? Whatever issues he had with his appearance is a thing of the past. I celebrate his life and the wonderful music he wrote. And since I don’t know him or his family personally, I won’t start making assumptions about who should care for HIS kids (biology or not). Why take them away from the only family they know? I wish them the best.

Andrea

July 6th, 2009
3:34 pm

The point was not whether he did or did not have a pigment problem. The point was that the only determining factor in considering whether or not Michael’s children were his should not be the amount of melanin in their skin. If that were the determining factor, Brad Pitt, Madonna, Parker Posey and quite a few more will have to relinquish their children because based on the prior assertions, they can’t possibly be parents to their children either.

Anne

July 6th, 2009
3:38 pm

I still stand by what I said. The love I have for my children far outweigh anything material. I would fight “tooth and nail” if anyone tried to take them. I would never sell them or give them away.

Jesse's Girl

July 6th, 2009
3:43 pm

Ok..this is the last thing I will say:). Its not a judgement on his character to say he wasn’t suffering from a true pigment issue. I am looking at the facts as they are. I ADORE his musical prowess…but he was a screwed up nut job. I too have seen people who have this pigment disorder. But when you consider all of his “white” attributes…..the silky straight hair, the up-turned nose, the cheek and chin implants, his LILLY WHITE children…its safe to say that he coveted that “look”….that outward appearance. I’m not saying that made him a bad parent. There are plenty of other issues that point to him being a not-so-good parent. All I am saying is that biology plays a part somewhere and its not with the Jackson family. A judge would be dismally ignorant to not have it investigated further. And now…I am done:)

Andrea

July 6th, 2009
3:58 pm

Well, suffice it to say that people of Asian descent (who have silky straight hair) are trying to assimilate to be something other than Asian. They must covet “the look” as well.

Becky

July 6th, 2009
4:42 pm

What does silky straight hair have to do with them not being Michael’s children? I used to live next to an interacial couple that had twin girls..One was balck with curly hair and brown eyes..One was white with blonde hair and blue eyes..One was just like Mommy and the other was just like Daddy..Neither parent had any doubt that both girls belonged to both of them..

motherjanegoose

July 6th, 2009
4:57 pm

Am I one of the few persons who realize that money, fame and power do not necessarily make a person happy? The tragedy ( to me) is not that he died but that he put himself in the position to die due to ( perhaps) not being able to find happiness or contentment no matter what color he was or what texture his hair was.

I am with DB in that he was a very talented individual …”but this near-sainthood that he has been imbued with after his death is faintly nauseating” … is ANYTHING else happening in the world that could perhaps be as newsworthy? Forgive my ignorance but are their any charities, sponsorships or noble causes that were established by him…prior to death?

RJ

July 6th, 2009
5:01 pm

Correction Becky, they were both bi-racial. One was simply darker or lighter than the other, not black or white. All of this is silly. Biology doesn’t mean that you should automatically have a right to a child. If I’m adopted do my biological parents have a right to come back and get me because we’re tied by blood? Let his family figure this out. Again, I hope the best decision is made for the kids.

RJ

July 6th, 2009
5:05 pm

MJG he established the Heal the World Foundation. He also gave more than $300 million dollars to charities. This is more than any other entertainer. I wonder how many of those passing judgement have given money or even time to a charity on a regular basis.

Andrea

July 6th, 2009
5:05 pm

RJ – you are so right.

Andrea

July 6th, 2009
5:08 pm

MJG – He was one of the largest contributors to UNCF and he also financially supported the Brazilian town he filmed the video “They Don’t Care About Us” in for many years. I think it was mentioned on that interview he did with Oprah many years ago that he often paid for surgeries of patients with no or little insurance.

Tiffany

July 6th, 2009
5:12 pm

The question that was asked was who should raise Michael Jackson’s children. Well, that’s a tough one. It has already been reported that Debbie Rowe is most likely to file for custody of not only her two kids, but little Blanket, age 7 as well. This is to keep all three children together. While I agree that the children do not know her very well and this would be quite an adjustment for them, I think that this may be in their best interest. We should not stand in judgement of Ms. Rowe because without being in her shoes…I don’t think anyone would know the truth about the former custody arrangement between her and Michael. She has said that she does love and want these children. Everything has changed now that Michael is gone. The kids need a parent. I think the grandmother is a little old to have full custody of the kids at this point. Since she loves them and they do have a true bond, it would be best if she could continue to be a major part of their lives, but as a grandmother. Debbie Rowe should be given a chance to be a mother to these children. They deserve to have a real mother in their lives. I believe that she raises horses on her own ranch. She leads a very down to earth and laid back life. Some of that would be great for the Jackson children.

FCM

July 6th, 2009
5:16 pm

If normallacy = middle class/upper middle class who the heck says all kids need that? These children have private tutors who have them speaking 4 languages. They have travelled and had privledges just like any other ‘normal’ well to do child…..if Donald Trump dropped dead what would want to do with his child? Or Kelly Ripa’s children? or any other child of a wealthy parent?

Have we as a society really bought into the everyone should be equal in means/haves that we honestly believe these children need ‘normal’?????????

FCM

July 6th, 2009
5:18 pm

More rant: Children need LOVE, the need SAFETY, they need STABILITY, they need room to make mistakes. By every account I have ever read Mr. Jackson did work to provide those things for his children. Yes, his children, whether by his genetic material or adoption.

motherjanegoose

July 6th, 2009
5:32 pm

Thanks RJ…I have given both money and time but not a drop in the bucket compared to that figure.

Cammi317

July 6th, 2009
5:49 pm

No one said he wasn’t a parent, what was said is it is not believe he is biologically the father. The other thing is he NEVER formally adopted those children because they were presented as his biological children. If it turns out that he is not the biological father AND he never adopted them, his family does not have a legal right to those children. His mother, albeit a lovely person, is too old to take care of three young children. Not to mention if there is a shot in hell that they will come in contact with Joe, they are better off elsewhere. Debbie Rowe, has not a chance of getting that youngest child, and I am not convinced she is the biological mother of the oldest two since she once stated in an interview “my children have no mother”. Let’s face it…those kids are screwed no matter where they end up.

Dan

July 6th, 2009
6:04 pm

Doesn’t he have a boatload of family that are reasonably well off, not to mention relatively “normal”, seems like a no brainer

Tiffany

July 6th, 2009
6:13 pm

Debbie Rowe has already said she will take a DNA test to prove she is the mom of the oldest two. That would be in response to the rumor of her having used a donor egg. However, I believe I read somewhere that under California law she is presumed to be the mother anyway, since she and Michael were married at the time of the births, so in that case DNA doesn’t matter. It has also been stated that MJ was not the biological dad of any of the children, so that is not really up for debate. Their relationship with the Jackson family members is no different than any other adopted child’s would be. This is the only family they have known. As far as little Blanket, the youngest, his mom was reportedly a surrogate…so she may not have any claim whatsoever. Debbie Rowe does still have her parental rights. She should be first in line to claim her two children. It would be best for Blanket to keep him with his siblings. I suppose that will be up to a judge.

catlady

July 6th, 2009
7:28 pm

I am not sure either of the candidates are the best ones to raise the children. Everyone has a vested interest in the support those kids will bring. It appears that neither Michael’s mother nor the older two’s biological mother have been involved in their raising in the past. How about Octomom? I am guessing she’d be glad to take them in.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

July 6th, 2009
7:29 pm

Hey New Mom and everyone — I was at the hospital for most of the afternoon. he is doing better – he came off the ventilator on Saturday and talked the entire day. He’s very uncomfortable and they are trying to do physical therapy now on throat and body — get him moving. Overall he’s doing well for someone who had a heart transplant a week ago — he’s still in ICU and will be for at least another week — may be at the hospital for months — but little baby steps of improvement. His kids got to wave to him today — very sweet!!! His wife is holding up very well as are our parents. We sit with a lot of very nice families who loved ones in the ICU too. We’re meeting lots of families there. I’ve got babysitters coming so I can visit Emmet during the week.

MA

July 6th, 2009
8:12 pm

Theresa, that is great news about your brother. God speed to everyone involved!

deidre_NC

July 6th, 2009
9:44 pm

theresa prayers here for you and you and your family. i hope all turns out well for all. please keep on keeping us posted. and make sure all you family members get much rest while he is being looked after by the experts…your time of round the clock care will come when he gets to come home…so rest up for all that!!! god bless you!

Tiffany

July 7th, 2009
8:10 am

May Michael Jackson rest in peace. As he is laid to rest today, let us remember this unique and extremely talented man. His music was a gift to us all. The world will never be the same without him.

Becky

July 7th, 2009
8:43 am

RJ, get your panties out of a wad..I never said that they weren’t bi-racial…It just looked (on the outside) that neither one of these babies were of any mixed parents…These parents would tell you themselves that they had a black and white baby..

mjg isn’t saying that he didn’t give to others, she is simply stating that money does not buy happiness..It has been known for years that Michael gave to all sorts of charities..But giving to charity doesn’t always make you a better person either..

As for who should get Michaels kids, I’m not sure that his Mother would be a good choice..First as someone else pointed out, she’s 79, second if she has them, they are more likely to be around Joe and I’m sorry, but she allowed Joe to treat Michael the way she did when Michael was grwoing up, so she’s not Mother of the year material..

Either way, I hope Michael finally gets the peace that he’s been searching for and that his children will be placed with someone that loves them as much as he did…

Becky

July 7th, 2009
8:51 am

Theresa, so glad to hear that your brother is doing so good..Maybe that would be a good topic..How well do parents deal with the stress of sick children…