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Remarriage of Michael Jackson's ex may become family law dispute

While roles of Arkansas child guardians and parents overlap, the two designations are not the same. Under family law, guardianships are established by courts for minor children whose parents have died or no longer have the ability to care for them. Terms of ending guardianships, under Arkansas Code 28: 201-221, include court assessments of the best interests of the minor child.

After singer Michael Jackson's death, the caregiver for his three children became Jackson's mother Katherine. The mother of the two oldest children, 17-year-old Prince Michael and 16-year-old Paris, is Michael Jackson's ex-wife, Debbie Rowe. The children were born during the couple's three-year marriage, although the spouses never shared the same residence.

At the time of the couple's divorce in 1999, Debbie Rowe agreed to allow Michael Jackson to have custody of their children. Rowe continued to see the children during visitations scheduled every 45 days. Jackson also fathered a third child Blanket, now 12, whose birth mother has never been made public.

Rowe grew closer to Paris last year, after the teen reportedly tried to take her own life. The mother and daughter connected frequently after Paris entered treatment and school out of state. Rowe recently announced she is remarrying; reports said Rowe plans to seek guardianship of her children and possibly Blanket.

TMZ sources stated Rowe is displeased with the current guardianship arrangement for the children. Katherine and Michael Jackson's nephew T.J. Jackson share the legal responsibility. Rowe apparently believes she can provide a better environment for the children than Katherine, now 83, and T.J. who reportedly is often gone from the family home -- a place where Michael's brothers apparently wield a great deal of influence.

Families don't have to be famous for parental rights, custody, visitation and minor guardianship issues to come up. Each issue deals with adult obligations to children and Arkansas family laws that protect minors.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Debbie Rowe engaged; is a fight for Michael Jackson's kids next?" Christie D'Zurilla, Apr. 11, 2014

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