- The Washington Times - Friday, July 31, 2009

LOS ANGELES (AP) | Katherine Jackson will raise her son’s children under an agreement with the King of Pop’s ex-wife, who will have visitation rights under the supervision of a child psychologist, lawyers said Thursday.

The agreement calls for Michael Jackson’s mother to remain guardian of the pop icon’s three children, ages 7 to 12, in accordance with wishes spelled out in the singer’s 2002 will. No money is changing hands as a result of the agreement, the statement said.

Deborah Rowe, the biological mother of the two oldest children who has been largely absent from their lives, gets visitation rights with the youngsters. A child psychologist, paid for by Mrs. Jackson and Mrs. Rowe, will oversee the process, attorneys for the two women said in a statement.

The timing and frequency of the visits will be determined by both parties in consultation with the psychologist, the statement said.

The lawyers worked for weeks to reach an amicable arrangement. The agreement announced Thursday ends the likelihood of a contentious and public custody fight over Mr. Jackson’s children.

“Mrs. Jackson and the family are pleased this matter is resolved and was handled in a caring, thoughtful and courteous manner by the parties and their representatives,” L. Londell McMillan and Diane Goodman, attorneys for Mrs. Jackson, wrote in a statement. “We were all united in our goals to do what is best for Michael’s wonderful children, and both Mrs. Jackson and Debbie Rowe were on the exact same page.”

Eric M. George, an attorney for Mrs. Rowe, called the agreement a “dignified outcome.” Mr. George credited Mrs. Jackson’s attorneys for their work on the deal, and expressed pride with Mrs. Rowe for “her integrity and selflessness.”

Mrs. Rowe never petitioned for custody of Mr. Jackson’s children. The agreement is likely to be discussed during a hearing Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court. That hearing will now focus more on lingering issues with Mr. Jackson’s multimillion-dollar estate, of which Mrs. Jackson, 79, has vied for control.

Mr. Jackson, who died June 25 at age 50, was the sole parent to his three children. He was married to Mrs. Rowe, but both had described the relationship as borne out of friendship and that Mrs. Rowe had given birth to his two oldest children as a “gift.” They divorced after Paris-Michael was born.

His third child, 7-year-old Prince Michael II, known as Blanket, was born to a surrogate and the mother’s identity has never been revealed.

In his will, the singer expressed his desire to have his mother take care of his children. If she was unavailable, Mr. Jackson called for friend and singer Diana Ross to step in.

All three children have been living with Mrs. Jackson since their father’s death; they have been surrounded by their aunts, uncles and cousins.

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