LOS ANGELES - Michael Jackson’s mother gained permanent custody of her late son’s children during a hearing yesterday 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 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 that 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; he 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.
Last week, Katherine Jackson and the singer’s former wife Deborah Rowe reached an agreement over custody issues. Rowe, who did not appear in court yesterday, never formally petitioned for custody, but will receive some visits with Jackson’s two oldest children.