July 1, 2009 -- This week -- with a judge's ruling and a pledge from patriarch Joe Jackson -- Michael Jackson's three children have been enveloped by a large, extended, albeit wacky, clan.
"We're going to take care of them, give them the education they're supposed to have. We can do that," Joe Jackson pledged Monday in Encino, Calif., with Rev. Al Sharpton at his side.
The children, accustomed to a sheltered, but global lifestyle, are moving from one weird world to another -- where the bizarre is normal in the Royal Family of Pop.
According to Diane Dimond, the TV journalist who broke the Jackson child molestation story, the Jackson dynasty "put forward this ideal that the family is very close, but they're not."
"It's a historically dysfunctional family," she told ABCNews.com. "That family has been long replete with infighting."
Grandma Katherine, 79, has been granted temporary custody. And Grandpa Joe, 80, accused by his own children of administering brutal beatings, will be the new father by proxy, at least for the time being.
Prince Michael I, Paris Michael Katherine and Prince "Blanket" Michael Jackson II, welcome to your new family:
Jackson's Eccentric Tastes
As Grampa Joe alluded at that press conference, Michael Jackson's children have not led a normal life. But they'll have a lot to tell their classmates when they finally stop jetting from Bahrain to Ireland to London and go to school:
Brooke Shields Date
It appears only Grace Rwaramba, who worked for the star for 17 years and raised the children, provided some normalcy. She allowed the children to throw off the masks.
In the week since the death of Michael Jackson, critics say "follow the money" to see who will lay permanent claim to the children and the first custody hearing is scheduled for Aug. 4.
In the last year, sibling Janet Jackson, 41, had been the only one with earning power, according to Stacy Brown, who co-wrote "Man in the Mirror" with the late star's publicist Bob Jones.
The rest of the siblings have just been "scraping by" -- mostly by the pop star's design. They said the star hated his family -- with the exception of Katherine and Janet -- and wanted them broke.
Tito Jackson, 55, formed a blues band several years ago and plays at small venues for $500 to $1,500 a gig. Randy Jackson, 46, works as an auto mechanic. Marlon Jackson, 51, stocks groceries at a supermarket and was forced to leave his foreclosed home.
Jackie Jackson, 56, and son started a struggling Internet clothing business. Jermaine Jackson, 54, splits time between his mother's and girlfriend's homes with more than $5 million in liens against him from a 1995 bankruptcy filing.
But, Brian Oxman, a Jackson family attorney, told ABCNews.com of the question of custody, "All of this furor is a tempest in a teapot."
"They are one of the nicest families I know," he said. "I have done family law for 30 years. In terms of families who have troubles and problems, they have less than others."
But Brown said Joe Jackson's warm pledge to provide his son's children with a stable home while announcing his new record company, was "the lowest I'd ever seen him or anyone connected and certainly related to Michael ever sink."
"His son isn't in the ground and he's promoting himself," he said. "Katherine Jackson deserves a purple heart for putting up with Joe."
In the years that Brown spent at Hayvenhurst when the grandchildren were having fun, Joe Jackson would call and asked to be picked up.
"The kids would scatter like bugs when the lights came on," said Brown. "They did not want any part of being in their grandfather's presence. Michael's children will be traumatized all the more if they have to spend any length of time around Joseph Jackson."
Journalist Dimond worries about the elder parents taking custody.
"Bless Katharine Jackson, but she's 79 years old and separated from a man accused by all of his children as being a brutal dictator," she said.
"I don't think these children are doomed," said Dimond. "But I do think their lives forever changed the day their Dad died."
Celebrity psychologist Judy Kuriansky agrees the three children have a struggle ahead.
"In my view, they will need psychological help," she told ABCNews.com. "The grandparents also need guidance and counseling, to be prepared to be the children's custodians, especially Joe."