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.    

Jennifer Moore
Moore Family Law, P.APlymouth, MN

Jon and Kate, co-parenting


Jon and Kate and Child Custody

Last week, we discovered that, indeed, Jon and Kate are going to divorce.  They are planning to use a very common co-parenting technique, called “bird-nesting”.  “Bird-nesting” leaves the children in a single home, with the parents switching out.  The best practice involves both parents obtaining a second residence, in addition to the one used for parenting time with the children.  However, sometimes, co-parents can share a single residence for a short period of time. 

 “Bird-nesting” and co-parenting

“Bird-nesting” is not usually a long term solution for co-parenting, as people increasingly find it hinders their ability to pursue other relationships, as well as infringes upon their privacy.   There is at least some thought that bird-nesting is not in the best interests of the children.  See the All Academic web site.     (purchase required).  In my experience, children handle divorce a lot better than parents think they will.   Unless your children have special needs, it is likely that they can handle having more than one bed.  

In Jon and Kate’s situation, bird-nesting might be a necessity, since few people want to duplicate a home that will satisfy the needs of eight children as well as two individuals that will be going their own way. 


Jennifer Moore
Moore Family Law
Plymouth,  MN