Transcripts of a 2005 custody hearing, obtained by the Web site TMZ, spell out what has long been assumed: Rowe received a sizeable settlement to stay out of the children's lives when the couple divorced in 1999.
In the 2005 custody hearing, Jackson's lawyer Thomas Hall told Judge Stephen Lachs, "Mr. Jackson was under an agreement with petitioner [Rowe] here, which he was to pay her -- did pay her about $4 [million] or $5 million up front, gave her a mansion in Beverly Hills, and then was to pay $900,000 a year for a number of years if she abided by agreement terms."
That 2005 hearing also restored Rowe's parental rights she had relinquished. Though she never had custody of the children, her restored rights give her legal standing to now pursue custody following Jackson's death.
Jackson's 2002 will granted custody of the children to his mother Katherine Jackson, 79. In the aftermath of Jackson's death, Rowe, who had been absent from her children's lives for a decade, indicated she might pursue custody again.
Lawyers indicated they delayed a custody hearing Monday to continue to hammer out a deal.
"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," Katherine Jackson's lawyer, L. Londell McMillan, said in a statement to The Associated Press.
Sources said Rowe wanted increased visitation rights and for the Jackson family to pledge that Joe Jackson, the children's grandfather whom Michael accused of abuse, would not get custody in the future.
Rowe raised speculation there could be a custody battle when she told a Los Angeles television station four days after Jackson died, "I want my children."
George later tried to temper those comments, maintaining for weeks that "Debbie has not reached a final decision on the pending custody proceeding."
Another source close to Rowe previously told ABCNews.com that Rowe was considering seeking custody because she believed Katherine Jackson was too old to care for the children and because she did not want them near Joe Jackson.
ABC News' Michael S. James and Marilyn Heck contributed to this report.