Michael Jackson: Fairy Tale or Law School Exam Question

Hi there,

Along with pretty much everyone else I have been reading the ongoing saga about Michael Jackson’s death, his children and lastly, his will.

I am disturbed at a professional level by the revelations coming out about his children, in particular Blanket (remember the baby and the balcony?). It resonates as somehow buying children.  I have not seen anything in what I have read that indicates that Jackson adopted Blanket. What I have read indicates that Jackson (or more likely, his employees) paid for and arranged the pregnancy. Other than money, Jackson had no connection with this child. Given his personal history it would seem to me that he was not a good candidate to be an adoptive parent.

Most states have laws that try to prevent the purchase of children through just this situation. In a number of cases, the Massachusetts courts have decided that certain factors must be considered when determining the enforceability of a surrogacy agreement; if no compensation is paid to the surrogate other than pregnancy-related expenses and if she consents to the father having custody after a reasonable amount of time has passed following the child’s birth, then the court would consider the agreement enforceable. The concern over preventing people from being able to just buy children also shapes statutes involving adoption (see G.L. c. 210, § 11A; 102 Code Mass. Regs. § 5.09 (1997)). Parents wishing to adopt a child are able to pay the expenses of a birth parent but not make any direct payments to her.

As so much else in Jackson’s life, the issues of his children raise many questions.

Best, Nancy

1 Comment

  1. This is really interesting. If it is the case that he never adopted one or more of the children, and is not the biological father of the children, does he really have the ability to appoint a guardian for them in a will? Should his death play any factor in deciding where the children are placed…or should they have been placed elsewhere from the get go? Thanks for the interesting article!

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