Attorney: Deal Reached On Custody of Michael Jackson's Children - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Attorney: Deal Reached On Custody of Michael Jackson's Children

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Michael Jackson's ex-wife and the mother of his two oldest children, Debbie Rowe, has agreed not to challenge the singer's mother for custody of the children, a Jackson family lawyer said in a CBS News interview.

Londell McMillan, who represents Katherine Jackson, said a tentative agreement was reached "for the best interests of the children."

A spokeswoman for McMillan told CNN Thursday morning that she understood an "announcement is going out today."

"This is not a money deal," McMillan said. "This is not about money."

Debbie Rowe never publicly said if she would fight Jackson's 79-year-old mother for custody of her son and daughter -- ages 11 and 12 -- and a court hearing concerning custody was delayed several times this month while lawyers for each side talked. The youngest child, 7, was carried by a surrogate mother, whose name has not yet been released. 

Katherine Jackson gained temporary guardianship of her son's three children soon after his death last month. 

"There is no situation better for these children than for them to be raised and reared in the loving care of Mrs. Katherine Jackson," McMillan told CBS.

McMillan said details of the tentative agreement would be announced soon.

A custody hearing is set for Monday before a Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff.

"We will go to the courts, and we'll be united, and this will not be about money," McMillan said.

Beckloff will also hear arguments Monday about Jackson's estate and who will control it. Katherine Jackson is asking the court for more involvement in the estate's business.

Earlier this month, the judge granted temporary control to the executors named in his 2002 will: John Branca, Jackson's longtime personal attorney, and John McClain, a music industry executive and longtime friend.

McMillan, in a statement issues Wednesday, said Katherine Jackson was not disputing the will. But, he said, she wanted the judge to order the executors to disclose information about what he said was "a suspicious circle of relationships" involving them.

He said the executors "have either denied Mrs. Jackson access to critical information or insisted on such onerous and unreasonable restrictions" to information about deals they are making on behalf of the estate.

McMillan, in the CBS interview Thursday, estimated the Jackson estate was worth $2 billion, while the executors have estimated in court that its value is around $500 million.

The will placed all assets into a family trust benefiting his mother, his three children and unnamed charities.

Jackson's children have been living with their paternal grandmother at her Encino, California home since their father's death on June 25.

"They read the news on the Web and the reports," McMillan said. "I really tried to push the media to be responsible in how they try to handle this matter because there are three precious children involved."         

McMillan had said earlier that the two women were working to "privately and amicably resolve" the custody matter.

After tabloid report was published earlier this month saying that Rowe was demanding money from the Jackson family in exchange for dropping a possible custody challenge, her lawyer said money was not part of the talks.

"Ms. Rowe has not accepted -- and will not accept -- any additional financial consideration beyond the spousal support she and Michael Jackson personally agreed to several years ago," Eric George said.

A close friend of Rowe told CNN Thursday that she was the custody agreement "has nothing to do with money."

"Let's just say she'll be involved, but again this has nothing to do with money," said Marc Schaffel, who met first met Rowe when he worked for Jackson. "She had a deal with Michael and she'll get her money that way."

Their first child -- Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. -- was born in February 1997. A daughter -- Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson -- was born the next year. 

Details of how the children were conceived -- and who was the biological father -- have been closely guarded amid much public speculation. 

The couple divorced in 1999 with Rowe giving Jackson full custody while she got a $8.5 million settlement, according to court documents. Jackson later agreed to additional support.

Rowe gave up parental rights to Jackson in 2001, but she changed her mind more than two years later and sought temporary custody of the children. A California appeals court later ruled her rights were improperly terminated, opening the door to a possible custody battle.

         -- CNN's Randi Kaye contributed to this report.

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