WASHINGTON - Michael Jackson’s three children could face a complex custody battle in days ahead.
Jackson died suddenly, leaving behind two sons and a daughter, aged 12, 11 and 7, who had lived with him practically since birth.
The mother of the oldest son, Prince Michael I, and daughter, Paris, is Debbie Rowe, a former nurse to Jackson’s dermatologist. They married in 1996, divorced in 1999, but reportedly remained friends.
The mother of the third child, Prince Michael II, has never been publicly identified.
While legal experts say Rowe is likely to regain full custody of her two children, a lawyer close to the Jackson family said that Jackson’s mother, Katherine, would be the more logical choice.
“She has all the grandkids and nieces around her but it will be up to the courts … wouldn’t be surprised if there are more proceedings regarding the children,” Jackson family attorney Brian Oxman told People magazine online.
But a former lawyer for Jackson’s ex-wife told People that Rowe is the legal parent of her two children with Jackson. The lawyer, Iris Finsilver, said Rowe had tried to give up custody during a 2005 dispute with Jackson, but a judge restored it to her.
Further complicating matters is the fact that the mother of the third child, Prince Michael II, also known as Blanket, reportedly acted as a surrogate and her name has not been revealed. Custody of Prince Michael II is even more uncertain because the boy’s mother was probably never a part of his life, CNN reported.