Britney Spears has not been able to make a single legal decision on her own since she was 27. This is because the singer was placed under a legal Conservatorship after her public breakdown in 2008 (if you recall the shaved head stunt and the umbrella hits to the paparazzi). Now, 12 years later, Spears is going to battle against her father, Jamie Spears, to remove him from his role as sole conservator of her estate.
This case has not been shy of the public eye, like anything in the pop princess’s life. Many of her fans have been spreading conspiracy theories online about her conservatorship and her father’s control over her life. They believe she is being held captive. This started what is referred to as the “#FreeBritney Movement”. The hashtag continues to go viral every time an update in the case is announced. However, the #FreeBritney movement does not have support from Jamie Spears. In fact, Mr. Spears went as far as the sue a #FreeBritney blogger for defamation.[ SEE: Defamed Dad: Britney Spears’ Father Sues #FreeBritney Blogger for Defamation]
Regardless of the theories, this arrangement is in fact legal. Where the issue may lie is whether or not Jamie Spears is fit to be his daughter’s sole conservator. Many also wonder if it is even necessary for Britney to remain under her conservatorship, but according to her attorneys, the arrangement is “voluntary” – despite the outcry from fans that believe she is being held captive. The singer is not seeking complete freedom, but she is seeking “a qualified corporate fiduciary appointed to serve in this role,” according to Variety.
What is a Conservatorship and Why is Britney Spears still in one?
A conservatorship is a legal arrangement that gives an appointed individual guardianship of someone else’s finances, medical care and/or daily life. This usually occurs in situations where a person is unable to take care of themselves due to mental illness or old age. Britney’s conservatorship started after her second stay in a mental facility in 2008. At the time, she was fighting for custody of her two sons with ex-husband Kevin Federline and her father became the legal guardian of his daughter’s affairs.
It’s no secret that Britney has struggled publicly with mental health- and still may – which might be why the conservatorship has stayed intact for 12 years. However, it has become apparent that Mrs. Spears wishes to remove her father, who also has had recent health issues, from his role as sole conservator.
In his role as sole conservator, Jamie Spears is paid around $130,000 annually by his daughter’s estate. In court documents obtained by Entertainment Tonight, the largest expense of Britney’s estate in 2018 was her legal and conservator fees, which, in total, equaled over $1.1 million just for that year alone. According to Capital FM, Spear’s net worth dropped from $200 million to $60 million in recent years, thanks to the millions the singer has had to pay in lawyer fees, treatment centers and legal battles.
Small Victory in Britney’s Battle
On Wednesday October 14th, 2020, Spears’ petition was granted to expand her legal team. A small victory for the singer in this very long and drawn out case. Previously, her father had opposed her adding more lawyers.
“Britney Spears’ dispute is unfortunate but sadly, not uncommon in large estates and where people have struggled with mental health issues or substance abuse,” says Raees Mohamed, Influencer Attorney, “We’re following this story and look forward to a successful conclusion to this mess for Britney.”
Only time will tell what the courts will decide in this matter, but maybe with a strong legal team around her, Britney will be able to remove her father from the conservatorship and move on with her life.
Update: Britney’s Dad Pleads His Case To Stay Sole Conservator
On Sunday November, 8th, 2020, TMZ reported that Britney’s father, Jamie Spears filed new court documents that state why it would be a bad idea to remove him as sole conservator.
“Jamie says he’s doing everything he’s supposed to be doing managing the estate — and that includes keeping it thriving and bridging the gap on any hiccups that could cost his daughter a fortune, including making sure a biz manager’s in place,” TMZ reported.
The court documents claim that Jamie pulled his daughter out of significant debt and built the estate back up to the $60 million that is worth now.
Jamie also claimed that Britney’s court appointed attorney, Sam Ingham is overstepping his authority as he doesn’t serve any conservatorship roles over business affairs.
Update: Judge Declines Britney’s Bid To Remove Her Father As Conservator
On Tuesday November 10th, 2020, Judge Brenda Penny declined to suspend Jamie Spears from his role as conservator, but did appoint financial company Bessemer Trust as a co-conservator, according to NBC News.
This loss does not mean it is the end for Britney. The judge did not rule out the possibility for future petitions to remove or suspend Jamie from the conservatorship.
In the meantime, Britney will not preform again until her father is removed, according to her attorney.
Update: Britney Speaks In Court Detailing Conservatorship Abuse
Yesterday, Britney Spears finally got the chance to publicly and truthfully voice her opinion on the conservatorship. She confirmed to the court – and the world for that matter- that everything that the #FreeBritney movement has been saying about the conservatorship abuse was true. Britney detailed many alarming aspects of the arrangement and asked the judge for an end to the conservatorship. There is so much to unpack here, but for our purposes, let’s just discuss the legal aspects.
Britney said she did not know she could petition to remove the conservatorship. She said she was always afraid to speak up and tell the truth about her circumstances because she thought no one would believe her.
Now that she is aware of her options, she can do one of many things. She can prove to the court that she no longer needs the conservatorship, but she might need to go through some evaluations and testing – which she explicitly said she does not want to do any longer. However, in my opinion, IF she had the right professionals doing these evaluations, she would probably pass! She sounded very stable and mentally aware of her situation when speaking with the judge yesterday than I have ever heard her like before (in recent years).
However, if she really doesn’t want to petition the conservatorship – she can prove to the judge the abuse she’s endured under the conservatorship and try to get it terminated all together.
She also may have the option to replace her court appointed attorney, Sam Ingham, with an attorney of her choosing. It seems like Ingham is a little in over his head with Britney’s case and it would likely serve Britney better to hire someone more versed in these cases.
Update: Jamie Spears Files Documents to End Britney’s Conservatorship
James “Jamie” Spears, Britney Spears’ father, has filed documents to end his daughter’s conservatorship.
After the Los Angeles County Superior Court granted Britney Spears the right to appoint her own legal counsel, Jamie Spears has come forward saying “that grounds for establishment of a conservatorship may no longer exist” and he feels that his daughter “is entitled to have this Court now seriously consider whether this conservatorship is no longer required.”
However, many could speculate that the Spears patriarch’s change of heart has come from Britney’s claims that her conservatorship was “abusive”. According to NBCnews.com, Spears went as far as to say that “her father had ruined her life and “loved” to hear her in pain while [exerting] his power over her.”
Newly appointed attorney Mathew Rosengart has made monumental strides in Spears’ case in the short amount of time he has been appointed. His claims that Jamie Spears misused her finances, and attempts “to avoid accountability and justice, including sitting for a sworn deposition and answering other discovery under oath…” have illustrated to the courts, and the public, the nightmare that Britney has lived for the past 13 plus years.
The next hearing is scheduled for September 29th.
More updates to come as this story develops.
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