Tuesday, August 4, 2009
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Gwinnett Daily Post
Custody of Jackson's kids given to grandmother
LOS ANGELES - Michael Jackson's mother gained permanent custody of her late son's children during a hearing Monday that included a surprise objection from the pop icon's former dermatologist.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff made a series of key rulings during the morning portion of the Monday hearing. In addition to approving Katherine Jackson's guardianship petition, he also granted monthly stipends to the 79-year-old and the three young grandchildren she is now charged with raising.
The ruling came after a few tense moments in which an attorney for Beverly Hills Dr. Arnold Klein, Michael Jackson's longtime dermatologist, raised nonspecific objections to the custody arrangements. The attorney, Mark Vincent Kaplan, said they were based on the doctor's long-term relationship with the singer and his children.
'Legally, he is not a presumed parent,' Kaplan said. He said Klein had concerns about the children's education and other day-to-day parenting issues.
Beckloff ultimately determined Klein didn't have legal standing to object to the care of Jackson's children, but said he could raise objections later. Klein has repeatedly denied tabloid reports that he is the biological father of Jackson's children, saying last month on 'Larry King Live' that 'to the best of my knowledge' he is not.
Diane Goodman, an attorney for Katherine Jackson, told Beckloff that Jackson's youngest son, Prince Michael II, was born through a surrogate who has no parental rights.
Katherine Jackson's approval as permanent guardian is in accordance with her son's wishes, who named her in a 2002 will as the person he wanted to raise his children. Beckloff noted that the singer's two oldest children, 12-year-old Prince Michael and 11-year-old Paris Michael, filed declarations stating their wishes for who would raise them. He did not indicate what they said.