A Family Law Attorney on Michael Jackson and Child Custody
July 7, 2009
A Family Law Lawyer Comments on Michael Jackson and Child Custody
Michael Jackson and Child Custody
With the death of Michael Jackson, there has been significant speculation as to what will happen with the custody of his three children. In his will, Jackson designated his mother as the children’s guardian. However, a guardianship designation in a will does not supersede the rights of a parent. As to the two older children, at least, the children’s mother, Debbie Rowe, may have superior rights to Jackson’s mother. Ultimately, the California Court will have to determine if it would be detrimental to the children’s best interests to be placed in the custody of Ms. Rowe. See this story on the BBC: Michael Jackson Child Custody
Debbie Rowe and Child Custody
At this time, there is no custody dispute. Ms. Rowe has filed no suit, and the children are in the custody of Jackson’s mother. As a family law attorney, I am happy to say that parents are usually motivated by the best interests of the children in these circumstances. If a parent has not been part of the child’s life for a significant period of time, they may not be motivated to step in if there is a more suitable custodian. They may, on the other hand, want to negotiate some quality time with the children. In this case, even if Ms. Rowe does not want custody of the children, the death of their father may provide her with an opportunity that didn’t exist prior to Jackson’s death to be part of her children’s life.
Of course, there is a potential jackpot here, since Jackson’s estate may provide the children’s custodian with access to a very large amount of cash.
Finally, since Ms. Rowe is not the biological parent of Jackson’s youngest child, who was the product of a surrogacy arrangement, additional complications may surface.