Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Michael Jackson's mother gets custody of children

A judge yesterday ruled that Michael Jackson's mother should raise the King of Pop's children.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff appointed Katherine Jackson as the permanent guardian of the singer's three children.

Mrs Jackson was named by her son as his first choice to raise his children in a 2002 will filed with the court. The 79-year-old is the only person to formally petition for custody of the children since Jackson's death on June 25 aged 50.

Mrs Jackson and her son's ex-wife Deborah Rowe reached a custody agreement last week.

The three children, who range in age from seven to 12, have been living with Mrs Jackson at the family's home in the San Fernando Valley in California since their father's death.

The two eldest children signed declarations apparently indicating they wanted to remain with Mrs Jackson.

The hearing yesterday saw a last-minute objection by the pop icon's former dermatologist.

Judge Mitchell Beckloff made a series of key rulings during the morning section of the hearing, which was to reconvene after a short break.

In addition to approving Katherine Jackson's guardianship, he also granted monthly allowances to the 79-year-old and the three young grandchildren she is now charged with raising.

The ruling came after a few tense moments in which a lawyer for Beverly Hills doctor Arnold Klein, Michael Jackson's long-time dermatologist, raised non-specific objections to the custody arrangements.

The lawyer, Mark Vincent Kaplan, said they were based on the doctor's long-term relationship with the singer and his children.

“Legally, he is not a presumed parent,” Mr Kaplan said.

He said Dr Klein had concerns about the children's education and other day-to-day parenting issues.

Judge Beckloff ultimately determined that Dr Klein didn't have legal standing to object to the care of Jackson's children, but said he could raise objections later if he wanted to.

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