Rowe ‘Quietly’ Trying to Work Out Custody Deal

Two custody hearings have been postponed in what is becoming yet another dark twist to Michael Jackson’s already stormy death. The latest hearing is set for July 20. Meanwhile, Debbie Rowe, the "legal" mother of two of Jackson’s three children, is quietly trying to work out a deal to determine her custodial rights to her […]

Last Updated: July 13, 2009 @ 6:39 PM

Two custody hearings have been postponed in what is becoming yet another dark twist to Michael Jackson’s already stormy death. The latest hearing is set for July 20.

Meanwhile, Debbie Rowe, the "legal" mother of two of Jackson’s three children, is quietly trying to work out a deal to determine her custodial rights to her offspring. But unless settled, the fate of all the kids could be mired in a legal battle — yet another twist in the singer’s controversial life and now death.

"They are negotiating," said an individual close to the Jackson family, "and it is not easy. Debbie is scatterbrained and she flip-flops a lot, but when push comes to shove and the family presses her, she will contest the will."

Jackson’s mother has been granted temporary guardianship and Jackson said in a 2002 will that was filed earlier this month that he wanted his mother to care for his children. Even so, child welfare officials could ignore Jackson’s wishes and play a role in determining the future of these children and the custodian, who the officials considered, would serve the best interests of the children.

 

One of Jackson’s attorneys issued a statement Friday saying, "We are pleased that the child custody hearing has been continued over until July 20 to further our progress and allow us to privately and amicably resolve this most important matter in a dignified manner for the benefit of the children first and all involved."
 
Paying Debbie Rowe to drop any custody claims or visitation rights is not out of the question, Michael G. Dave, a Los Angeles-based family law attorney and probate expert told TheWrap.
 
“It is all a matter of negotiation in terms what value it is to the other side to get her to relinquish her position and that is open ended,” he said.
 
Dave doubted that Rowe could relinquish all of her parental rights. “I am not sure you can give up all of your rights,” he said, “You might want to come back and assert your rights again.”

Frank Swertlow is an awarding-winning journalist who covered a 2002 civil trial against Michael Jackson and the 2005 criminal trial, both for People magazine. He is the co-author of "We, the Jury," a profile of seven jurors who sent Scott Peterson to death row.