Michael Jackson's Mom Granted Custody of Jackson Children - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Michael Jackson's Mom Granted Custody of Jackson Children

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- A Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Monday approved an agreement granting Katherine Jackson permanent custody of Michael Jackson's children.

A hearing is scheduled for October to look at some remaining issues.

Judge Mitchell Beckloff also awarded Katherine Jackson all of the family allowance funds she requested, but gave only 83.5 percent of what she requested in support of the children. He said in a court hearing Monday he disallowed money for one item, which he described as "quite a large amount" that he was not sure was necessary. The allowance order is sealed. 

Beckloff set a hearing to revisit the allowance matter in January 2010.

An agreement between Katherine Jackson and Debbie Rowe, mother of Jackson's two eldest children, cleared the way for an uncontested custody hearing. Rowe, who was briefly married to Michael Jackson, agreed not to fight for custody in exchange for visits with the children. She did not attend Monday's hearing.

Jackson's two oldest children -- Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., 12, and Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson, 11 -- signed consents to the agreement. He also has a 7-year-old son, Michael Joseph Jackson II with an unidentified surrogate.

The agreement does not involve any financial payments to Rowe "apart from the continuation of spousal support payments" that Michael Jackson personally agreed to make to Rowe after their divorce, their lawyers said in a joint statement.

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

Also at the hearing Monday, attorneys for Jackson's dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein, said he sought a role in the children's lives, and that he wanted "in some way to be involved" in respect to their education and medical care, although he was not objecting to the custody agreement. But Beckloff denied Klein's request to be a party to the hearing.

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

In an interview last month on ABC's "Good Morning America," Klein did not rule out being the biological father of the children.

"Not to the best of my knowledge," he said when asked by Diane Sawyer if he was the father. "All I can tell you is, best of my knowledge, I am not the father of these children. But I am telling you, if push comes to shove, I can't say anything."

Rowe and Jackson divorced in 1999 with Rowe giving him full custody while she got an $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.

At Monday's hearing, Beckloff is also expected to consider Katherine Jackson's challenge of the lawyer and former music executive who were named as executors in Michael Jackson's will. He called a 30-minute recess while attorneys conferred on the matter. 

Katherine Jackson was in the courtroom along with her daughters LaToya and Rebbie Jackson, and son Randy Jackson. Her lawyers filed a petition last week accusing the men who now control the estate of being "intent on keeping her in the dark" about deals they've made or are negotiating.

Londell McMillan, Jackson's lead attorney, raised questions about "a suspicious circle of relationships" involving John Branca, the singer's longtime personal attorney, and John McClain, a music industry executive and longtime friend.

Howard Weitzman, one of the lawyers for Branca and McClain, said they've provided "timely information to Mrs. Jackson's counsel regarding potential business opportunities for the estate."

"Any inference that we have not been forthcoming in providing information to Katherine Jackson's attorneys is not accurate," Weitzman said.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff gave Branca and McClain temporary control of the estate until Monday's hearing.

Katherine Jackson is asking the judge to order Branca, McClain and others to answer questions under oath about their business agreements to determine if they are "fit and able" to administer the estate. The men also were served with a 19-page demand for documents.

Branca has refused to let Katherine Jackson see Michael Jackson's contracts with AEG -- the company that was organizing and promoting his planned concerts -- unless she agrees to keep them confidential. Branca's lawyer argued in a court filing that he has no choice, since the contracts have a provision requiring confidentiality.

"There is one agreement being requested by Mrs. Jackson's attorneys where the other party to the contract has agreed to provide the document to Mrs. Jackson and her attorneys but requested that the terms be kept confidential and not be shared with third parties," Branca's lawyer said. "Mrs. Jackson's lawyers have refused that offer."

Branca's lawyers also argued that Katherine Jackson's demand for documents was too broad and burdensome.

"Such measures will not be necessary if Mrs. Jackson is appointed a co-executor of the estate," McMillan said.         

McMillan, in an interview with CBS 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 written in 2002 places all of Michael Jackson's assets into a family trust benefiting his mother, his three children and unnamed charities.

The-CNN-Wire/Atlanta
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