Judge Approves Custody for Katherine Jackson
"It's not my intention to deprive the children of anything," said Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff at a hearing.
Katherine, 79, reached a custody agreement last week with Deborah Rowe, Michael's ex-wife and the biological mother of his two oldest children – Prince Michael I, 12, and Paris, 11 – with visitation rights for Rowe based on a schedule worked out with a child psychologist and continued spousal support.
Prince Michael II (a.k.a. "Blanket"), 7, Michael Jackson's youngest child whose surrogate mother has never been identified, will also stay with Katherine, the judge said, finding there was "no legal mother" of Blanket.
"Today the parties and the California court brought about a result that is selfless and wise through a process that was collaborative and fair," Rowe's attorney, Eric George, said outside of court. "Everyone sought the same objective: Doing what is best for the children of Debbie Rowe and Michael Jackson. Today's result – five-and-a-weeks after the tragic death of Michael Jackson, eliminates uncertainty and offers stability to the lives of these children."
Katherine attended the hearing with son Randy and daughter LaToya. In addition to the custody hearing, the judge is expected to decide who will be permanent executors of the singer's estate. Last month, attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain were made temporary executors.
According to published reports, Michael supported his mother financially up until his death on June 25. The judge said the family allowance will continue through the end of the year. Lawyers will return to court Jan. 11, 2010, for a status hearing.
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