Britney Spears's father gets conservatorship till February 2021 as court seals hearing from public

Britney had been under a court-ordered conservatorship controlled by her father since 2008, following a high-profile public meltdown


                            Britney Spears's father gets conservatorship till February 2021 as court seals hearing from public
Britney Spears (Getty Images)

In a surprise turn of events, a Los Angeles court judge granted a motion to seal the hearing and transcripts regarding singer Britney Spears' conservatorship case on August 19. This means that the public and plenty of concerned fans are no longer privy to court proceedings as the protracted case for Britney's freedom and improved quality of life reaches its inevitable conclusion.

Prior to this, the singer and her lawyers had registered a plea stating that they did not want her father, James aka Jamie Spears, to be the sole controller of her conservatorship and that the singer was exploring other options with respect to how her guardianship care would continue in the future. Britney had been under a court-ordered conservatorship controlled by her father since 2008, following a high-profile public meltdown and some erratic behavior that raised eyebrows regarding her mental health.

Honoree Britney Spears attends the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 12, 2018, in Beverly Hills, California (Getty Images)

Los Angeles judge Brenda Penny agreed to seal the hearing from media and the public and had the courtroom cleared out as the status hearing for Britney's conservatorship was conducted behind closed doors. As per the terms of Britney’s conservatorship, her father James has been the primary custodian of her personal and professional life for the past 12 years.

However, this meant that the arrangement put the singer's estate, financial assets and some personal assets under the control of her father and a lawyer, with Britney apparently no longer capable of running her own life. From her food to whom she dated, everything was subject to her father's jurisdiction, along with concert tour schedules and medical supervision. However, Britney's attorney later insisted, "She’s always involved in every career and business decision. Period." After Britney's co-conservator, attorney Andrew M Wallet, resigned in March 2019, that put her father in sole control of the 38-year-old singer's affairs and estate.

Britney Spears attends the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden on August 28, 2016, in New York City (Getty Images)

Due to health concerns, James had stepped away from his conservatorship role in September 2019, and a licensed professional conservator, Jodi Montgomery, was appointed as the singer's temporary caregiver. However, James was expected to resume his conservatorship duties this year and Britney made it clear that she was strongly opposed to giving him sole control over her life and financial affairs.

According to court documents, it is understood that the singer requested that James be removed from his position as her court-appointed conservator and that Montgomery be allowed to continue in her conservator role on a permanent basis, meaning that the latter would oversee the singer's personal affairs henceforth. Britney also requested a "qualified corporate fiduciary" be appointed to oversee her financial affairs instead of her father. 

Supporters of Britney Spears gather outside a courthouse in downtown for a #FreeBritney protest as a hearing regarding Spears' conservatorship is in session on July 22, 2020, in Los Angeles, California (Getty Images)

Spears' court-appointed attorney, Samuel D Ingham III, said, "We are now at a point where the conservatorship must be changed substantially in order to reflect the major changes in her current lifestyle and her stated wishes." There had been plenty of fan support and public outcry after the disturbing details of the singer's conservatorship were made public, with the #FreeBritney hashtag trending on social media on more than one occasion. A growing number of fans were concerned that the singer's estate was being mismanaged and that she was being abused and trapped in circumstances beyond her control. They ultimately wanted James's conservatorship investigated and ultimately revoked so that Britney could "finally be free and live her best life".

 



 

However, James had rubbished the rumors that he was controlling his daughter's life against her will, saying that those were merely conspiracy theories. "All these conspiracy theorists don’t know anything. The world doesn’t have a clue," he stated. "It’s up to the court of California to decide what’s best for my daughter. It’s no one else’s business."

However, it is now understood that Britney has hit a temporary roadblock in her bid to prevent her father from controlling her financial affairs and personal life. A document started circulating online that the court had made no immediate changes to the terms of her conservatorship and that the closed-door hearing has now extended the current arrangements until February 2021. According to sources, her conservatorship changes cannot be presented before a judge for approval until some additional legal documents are filed by Britney's team.

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