July 17, 2009 / 11:39 PM / 9 years ago

Jackson kids custody hearing delayed again

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A court hearing over who will raise Michael Jackson’s three children was postponed again on Friday in an apparent bid to settle the issue behind closed doors.

Prince Michael Jackson I (L), Paris Jackson and Prince Michael Jackson II, the children of the late pop star Michael Jackson, walk off stage during the memorial service for Michael Jackson at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Tuesday, July 7, 2009. REUTERS/Mark J. Terrill/Pool

Los Angeles Superior Court officials said a guardianship hearing scheduled for Monday had been rescheduled to August 3 — the second delay in the decision over who would get permanent custody of the children.

Jackson’s mother, Katherine, 79, was granted temporary custody by the courts of Prince Michael, 12, Paris, 11 and Prince Michael II, 7, after Jackson’s death on June 25.

But lawyers for Jackson’s ex-wife Debbie Rowe have been in talks with representatives of Jackson’s parents, and one report this week said the “Thriller” singer’s sister, Janet, was also interested in raising them.

Jackson left his estate, valued at $500 million in an attachment to his will, to a family trust that benefits his children, his mother and charities.

Jackson said in his 2002 will he wanted his mother to care for the children if he died.

Rowe is the mother of the two eldest children, and she has made ambiguous comments to the media about seeking custody of the children after years of having minimal contact with them.

Her lawyers this week sued a woman who claimed Rowe was willing to accept millions of dollars in exchange for giving up her parental rights.

The biological parents of Jackson’s third child, Prince Michael II, also known as Blanket, have never been revealed.

The August 3 hearing on the children will coincide with another hearing on Jackson’s complex estate.

The coroner’s report on the cause of the singer’s death is still awaiting toxicology and other test results. His burial arrangements have not been announced.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant)

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