Don’t stop ’til you get the kids
Michael Jackson and ex-wife hire retired judge for private family matter.
In a new episode of pop superstar Michael Jackson’s recent legal issues, Michael Jackson and ex-wife, Deborah Rowe, have agreed to hire a retired judge to handle a private family-law case. Although the matter has not been specified in public, it is believed to involve custody and visitation arrangements for the couple’s two children, according to theAssociated Press.
Jackson and Rowe agreed on January 27 this year to have former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen M. Lachs preside over their case for “all purposes,” and another judge approved this agreement on February 20. Lachs is working with a mediation center that lets parties hire private judges for civil disputes. The judge’s rulings will be as binding as those made in a regular family court, except that they will stay private.
Neither Rowe’s nor Jackson’s lawyer responded to media requests for comment. However, the syndicated TV show Celebrity Justice has reported that Rowe is in the process of seeking formal custody of the children, seven-year-old Prince Michael I and Paris, who is either five or six. Rowe allegedly wants custody partly because members of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan’s black Muslim movement, have been advising Jackson with respect to his current criminal charges. Rowe is Jewish, and the Nation of Islam has been reported to support anti-Semitic views, according to Ananova.com.
Jackson, of course, was arrested late last year and charged with seven counts of child molestation and two counts of intoxicating the victim with alcohol. He has publicly denied the allegations and is expected back in court in April. Ironically, the parents of Jackson’s accuser are in the midst of their own custody dispute over the boy; his father has pleaded no-contest to child cruelty and spousal abuse.
Rowe and Jackson first met while she was working as a nurse for his plastic surgeon. They married in 1996, shortly after Jackson had divorced Lisa Marie Presley, and revealed that Rowe was pregnant with his first child. They divorced about three years later, with Rowe citing irreconcilable differences.
Jackson was the most celebrated entertainer of the ’80s, with his top-selling albums Off the Wall, Thriller, and Bad, his spectacular music videos, and the bizarre eccentricity of his personal life. But his career has been in decline over the last ten years, particularly since child-abuse allegations were first leveled against him in 1993.