Domestic Diversions

Just how temporary is the custody awarded to Michael Jackson’s mother?

The New York Times adds a little context to the looming custody issues following Michael Jackson’s death and the apparent change of heart by Debbie Rowe toward 12-year-old Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. and 11-year-old Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, 11. [An unidentified surrogate mother gave birth to 7-year-old Prince Michael Jackson II.]

Jonathan Glater and Liz Robbins write (excerpt):
If Ms. Rowe decides to seek custody of the two older children, she may make a strong claim, lawyers said.

“Under California law, if you are the legal parent of a child, you have rights to the child even if you don’t currently have legal custody,” said Erik S. Pitchal, a law professor at Suffolk University Law School in Boston.

“You have to meet a very high standard to show that you are such an important figure in the life of a child to overcome” the claim of a legal parent, Mr. Pitchal added.

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