Page last updated at 20:54 GMT, Monday, 29 June 2009 21:54 UK

Jackson family file for custody

Michael Jackson's father, Joe: 'We are going to take care of those kids'

The mother of Michael Jackson has been granted temporary guardianship of his three children by a court.

A further court hearing will be held in August to determine if Katherine Jackson will be granted permanent guardianship of her grandchildren.

Her lawyer said the family had not heard from Deborah Rowe, the biological mother of Jackson's eldest children.

The singer's youngest son was born to a surrogate mother whose identity has never been revealed.

Jackson, who died suddenly last week, left three children - Michael Joseph Jackson Jr, known as Prince Michael, 12, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, 11, and seven-year-old Prince Michael II.

Family lawyer Londell McMillan told broadcaster NBC "I don't think there will be anybody who thinks there is someone better" than Mrs Jackson to be given custody.

A hearing has been set to take place at Los Angeles Superior Court on 3 August, according to official papers.

Documents also show that Mrs Jackson has also petitioned to take over the children's estate, the value of which is unknown.

Katherine Jackson
Katherine Jackson is currently looking after the children

It confirms that they are currently staying under her care at the Jackson family compound.

The court documents state that Ms Rowe's whereabouts are unknown, while "none" is stated next to the entry for the mother of Prince Michael II.

It also says that "they have a long-established relationship with paternal grandmother and are comfortable in her care".

Ms Rowe's lawyer, Marta Almli, said in a statement on Saturday: "Ms Rowe's only thoughts at this time have been regarding the devastating loss Michael's family has suffered.

"Ms Rowe requests that Michael's family, and particularly the children, be spared such harmful, sensationalist speculation and that they be able to say goodbye to their loved one in peace," she added.

Rowe married Jackson in 1996 but filed for divorce in 1999. She gave up custody rights to the children but sought them again in 2003.

They agreed a settlement in 2006 but the terms were never disclosed.

Memorial plans

There has been no announcement regarding funeral arrangements, although family friend, the Reverend Al Sharpton, said he would be talking to the family about how to honour the late pop star's memory.

He said the family wanted to hold memorials in key cities around the globe and also planned a memorial service for Tuesday at the Apollo Theatre in New York, where the Jackson 5 played.

Stars have already begun celebrating the life of Michael Jackson in Los Angeles.

Jackson's father Joe joined celebrities at the annual Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards show, which was hastily changed to honour the singer.

A Jackson 5 medley was performed and host Jamie Foxx attempted the Moonwalk.

Dr Conrad Murray
Dr Murray was Michael Jackson's personal physician

Jackson's sister Janet took to the stage to thank fans for their support.

"My entire family wanted to be here tonight, but it was just too painful, so they elected me to be here," she said.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for Michael Jackson's doctor has denied that his client administered painkilling drugs that could have contributed to the singer's death.

Edward Chernoff told the Associated Press that Dr Conrad Murray "had never prescribed Demerol or Oxycontin".

He said any drugs that the physician may have given Jackson were in response to a specific health complaint.

He said the star still had a faint pulse and was warm when Dr Murray found him in bed on Thursday afternoon.

Michael Jackson's family are said to be seeking a second post mortem examination because they still have questions about his death.

Joe Jackson said at the BET Awards show that he had "a lot of concerns" over events surrounding his son's death. He also told a US radio station that the family "suspected foul play somewhere".

The Los Angeles County Coroner's office said there was no evidence of foul play after an autopsy on Friday, but gave no cause of death.

It said the results of toxicology tests could take weeks to come back.

A spokesman for the coroner's office said Jackson had taken "some prescription medication".



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