Custody Agreement Gives Michael Jackson Children to Grandmother Katherine

Source tells ABC News a custody agreement has been reached.

July 30, 2009, 7:13 AM

July 30, 2009— -- After weeks of negotiations, Michael Jackson's mother Katherine Jackson and his ex-wife Debbie Rowe have reached an out-of-court agreement that gives Katherine Jackson full, permanent custody of the pop icon's three children, while Rowe will be granted "meaningful visitation rights," ABC News has learned.

A source with direct knowledge of the agreement told ABC News that under the agreement, Katherine Jackson maintains sole custody of Prince Michael I, 12, Paris-Michael Katherine, 11, and Prince Michael II, 7, also known as Blanket, while Rowe will have meaningful visitation rights and retain her legal parental rights.

Rowe and Katherine Jackson will split the cost of a child psychologist for the children, who have been living with their grandmother and their extended family at the Jackson family home in Encino, Calif., since Michael Jackson's June 25 death.

"The discussions were amicable and cooperative, rather than a give and take negotiation," the source told ABC News. "Both sides cooperated to reach agreement based solely on the best interest of the children."

Though it had been rumored that eldest Jackson sibling Rebbie Jackson, 59, may care for the children while Katherine Jackson retained custody, there was no mention of any siblings in the agreement.

Rumors that Rowe was seeking money in return for the the children's custody were false, the source said.

"No money was sought or agreed to," the source said, "except that Debbie Rowe will continue to receive the spousal support that she and Michael agreed to when Michael was alive."

The source also told ABC News that Rowe is the biological mother of Jackson's two eldest children, Prince Michael I and Paris. It had been reported that Rowe may not have been the older children's biological mother, something the source said is untrue.

Blanket, Michael Jackson's youngest child, was born to an unnamed surrogate after Jackson and Rowe divorced.

Lawyers for Katherine Jackson and Rowe plan to bring the agreement to Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday with the expectation that probate judge Mitchell Beckloff will approve it.

Question About Fourth Jackson Child Remains

Katherine Jackson was awarded temporary custody of the children in the days after her son's sudden death. Hearings to determine permanent custody were delayed twice while she and Rowe attempted to settle the matter out of court.

The question about a possible fourth child of Michael Jackson's still lingers.

Omer Bhatti, 25, who was a fixture at Jackson's Neverland Ranch and sat in the front row with the family at his memorial service, has denied being Jackson's child. But in a Wednesday interview on TV One, Jackson family patriarch Joe Jackson claimed otherwise.

"Yes I knew he had another son," Joe Jackson said, referring to Bhatti. "He looks like a Jackson, he can dance like a Jackson."

Katherine Jackson is also hoping to be named co-executor of her son's estate. While Jackson's 2002 will gives 40 percent to his mother, 40 percent to his children and 20 percent to charity, control of his estate has been given to former Jackson lawyer John Branca and music executive John McLain.

Katherine Jackson is said to be questioning what her lawyer called a "suspicious circle of relationships" and how they will go about protecting Jackson's business affairs and the family legacy.

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