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    AN OLD REPORT ABOUT CUSTODY OF THE CHILDREN

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    EMPATHY
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    AN OLD REPORT ABOUT CUSTODY OF THE CHILDREN

    Post  EMPATHY on Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:42 pm




    We can't stop thinking about what will happen to Michael Jackson's children now that the King of Pop has passed away. Who will raise them, and what will their life be like without their father?

    In the onslaught of news about Michael Jackson's death, this announcement would seem like a mere detail: On Monday, Jackson's 79-year-old mother, Katherine, was granted temporary guardianship of his children. For most families, the idea that a grandparent would step in and take charge in a crisis is a given, but for the Jackson clan, it's not that simple.

    Jackson was raising his children alone. His ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, who is the mother of Prince Michael, 12, and Paris, 11, surrendered her parental rights in the couple's divorce, while Jackson's youngest son, Prince Michael II, or "Blanket," was born to an anonymous surrogate. But in the last week, all sorts of rumors have been swirling around about who wants the kids and what their legal rights may be. Debbie Rowe reportedly told a British tabloid that she had no desire to seek custody, but her representatives are now saying that the interview never happened. Rowe also reportedly claimed that Jackson is not her children's biological father, although it's unclear how true that claim is either. But it does raise questions about the paternity of all three children, and about the best options for permanent custody.

    In the face of ongoing chaos it makes sense that the children would go to live with their grandmother. Court documents fiiled by Katherine Jackson assert that the children "have a long established relationship with [their] paternal grandmother and are comfortable in her care." During his 2005 trial for child molestation, Joe and Katherine Jackson told Barbara Walters they would pursue adoption of the children if Michael lost custody.

    Jackson is reported to have a good relationship with his mother, but his relationship with Joe Jackson was far more complicated. The singer and his siblings had accused Joe Jackson of abusing them as children, and Joe himself admitted to cheating on his wife and fathering a daughter out of wedlock. Katherine and Joe Jackson are still married but have not lived together since the 1980s, and only Katherine has been granted custody of her grandchildren. Joe, however, has resumed his role as spokesperson for the family, telling the press this week, "This is where they belong ... we love those kids ... we're going to take care of them." But is that what Michael would have wanted?


    Who should raise Michael Jackson's kids? The court has granted temporary custody to Jackson's mother, Katherine, but long-term plans are still up in the air.

    And then there is the odd life that Prince, Paris and Blanket lived with their father. Joe Jackson told the media this week that his grandchildren were doing well and were spending time with various cousins -- apparently a new thing for the children. "They was never around other kids but they are happy," Joe told the media. He also said that he and Katherine would "give them the education they are supposed to have." We wonder what other normal kid things the Jacksons were missing during their father's lifetime.

    So is this the best possible custody arrangement? It is both impossible to know and impossible not to speculate. Prince, Paris and Blanket lived an unusual life with their father, certainly, but it was a life that was familiar to them. Jackson reportedly spend nearly every waking minute with his children, and his absence must be devastating to them now. To have some sort of stability in the midst of that, with an adult that they are familiar with and who appears to love them deeply and sincerely, is certainly a good thing.

    At the same time, though, Katherine Jackson was a part of that dysfunctional family where her husband abused their children. Are his children are really best off in the same place where he grew up?

    Of course, if Katherine Jackson is not awarded custody of the children, who will be? What other adult is there in their lives? Insiders have said that Jackson would have wanted his children to live with former nanny Grace Rwaramba -- but Rwaramba was fired in December of 2008, and so far no legal document has come to light that would give her any rights to the children. Rwaramba recently talked with the Times of London about Jackson's drug use, claiming that she had had to pump his stomach on more than one occasion. If she had the children's best interest at heart, it is certainly questionable if she should have ran to the media with stories of their father's drug overdoses.

    But when you're talking about Michael Jackson -- a man who made a life crafting his celebrity -- it is hard to expect anything different. Unfortunately, Prince, Paris and Blanket are part of that spectacle at the moment. We hope that whoever winds up raising them can help them to find their way in the world, both as Michael Jackson's children and as themselves.

    http://www.parentdish.com/2009/07/01/michael-jacksons-mother-gets-custody-of-his-children/2

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