Judge approves deal giving Michael Jackson's mother custody
By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Jackson's mother was awarded custody of the singer's three children on Monday and his ex-wife Debbie Rowe was given visitation, formalizing an arrangement announced last week.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff approved an agreement between the two women on the future of the late pop star's children following his sudden death in June.
Beckloff also agreed to provide Katherine Jackson, 79, with an allowance paid by the singer's estate, along with a separate allowance for the three children. The amount of the payments was not released. Lawyers for Katherine Jackson said the singer had supported his mother financially during his career.
The "Thriller" singer had stipulated in a 2002 will that he wanted his mother to care for Prince Michael, 12, Paris, 11, and Prince Michael II, 7. But after his death Rowe had seemed to consider challenging for custody herself.
Lawyers for both parties said no money had changed hands as part of the agreement approved by the court on Monday. Rowe, who was not in court, will have the right to visit her two children with Jackson. The biological mother of the youngest boy has never been revealed.
Rowe's lawyer Eric George told reporters that the agreement "eliminates uncertainty" over the future of the children.
Rowe, he said, had "responded with heart, integrity and selflessness" over the custody issue.
Jackson left his estate, valued at more than $500 million in an attachment to his will, to a family trust that benefits his mother, his children and charities.
Lawyers are to discuss the administration of his estate in court later on Monday.
(Editing by Eric Beech)