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Lawyer aims to make sure Michael Jackson's mom has custody of superstar's children

June 29, 2009 |  7:25 am

The attorney for the Jackson family said he would go to court in an effort to make sure Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine, retains custody of his three children.

Attorney L. Londell McMillan said the family believes the children should be raised by their grandmother, whom he said was "providing a loving and stable environment for the children."

"They have a long-term and loving relationship with their grandmother," McMillan told NBC News. 

"She has custody, and I guess there [isn't anyone] who thinks there is anyone better," the attorney said. 

Some legal experts have said that Debbie Rowe, the biological mother of two of Jackson's three children, would have a strong case for custody. McMillan said she did not believe Rowe had contacted the family seeking custody, adding he didn't believe Rowe would want to "uproot the best interests of these children."

The announcement that Katherine Jackson would seek custody of the children -- Prince Michael Jr., 12; Paris Michael Katherine, 11; and Prince Michael II, 7 -- has the potential to become its own complex legal case. 

Given Jackson's unusual custody arrangements negotiated with Rowe over his two oldest children, it would seem likely that his wishes for their care following his death would have been written and notarized at the time of the agreement, family-law experts said.

However, experts said that if someone other than the children's biological mother were designated for custody, Rowe would have a good chance of challenging the arrangements, as her waiving of parental rights probably would be deemed illegal.

Rowe sued Jackson over the custody agreement and won an appeals-court verdict in 2006 but settled out of court on undisclosed terms. Jackson's youngest child, Prince Michael II, was born of a surrogate whose identity hasn't been made public.

The surrogate's custody petition, if she were to make one, wouldn't have the same power as Rowe's unless she were proved to have been the genetic mother as well.

-- Shelby Grad