30 Jun 2009

Jackson's mum granted temporary custody of children

9:18 pm on 30 June 2009

The mother of Michael Jackson has been granted temporary guardianship of his three children by a court.

The singer, 50, died suddenly on Friday after suffering an apparent cardiac arrest.

A further court hearing will be held on 3 August to determine if Katherine Jackson will be granted permanent guardianship of her grandchildren, the BBC reports.

Her lawyer said the family had not heard from Deborah Rowe, the biological mother of Jackson's eldest children.

Jackson's youngest son was born to a surrogate mother whose identity has never been revealed.

Jackson left three children - Michael Joseph Jackson Jr, known as Prince Michael, 12, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, 11, and seven-year-old Prince Michael II.

Documents also show that Mrs Jackson has also petitioned to take over the children's estate, the value of which is unknown. It confirms that the children are currently staying under her care at the Jackson family compound.

The court documents state that Ms Rowe's whereabouts are unknown, while "none" is stated next to the entry for the mother of Prince Michael II. It also says that "they have a long-established relationship with paternal grandmother and are comfortable in her care".

Ms Rowe's lawyer, Marta Almli, said in a statement on Saturday: "Ms Rowe's only thoughts at this time have been regarding the devastating loss Michael's family has suffered.

"Ms Rowe requests that Michael's family, and particularly the children, be spared such harmful, sensationalist speculation and that they be able to say goodbye to their loved one in peace."

Rowe married Jackson in 1996 but filed for divorce in 1999. She gave up custody rights to the children but sought them again in 2003. They agreed a settlement in 2006 but the terms were never disclosed.

There has been no announcement regarding funeral arrangements, although family friend, the Reverend Al Sharpton, said he would be talking to the family about how to honour the pop star's memory.