The 39-year-old American pop singer has been in what she has termed an “abusive” conservatorship with her father that began in 2008 following Britney Spears’ public meltdowns during her divorce and custodial battle with Kevin Federline. The arrangement gave Jamie Spears control over her financial affairs, estate, and her personal life, and the singer has been fighting a lengthy court battle to end it.
After opposing all his daughter’s attempts to remove him from the guardianship for a long time, Jamie Spears had filed a petition to end the conservatorship in a surprise move on September 7.
However, Britney Spears’ attorney Mathew Rosengart called that move an effort by Jamie Spears to delay his ousting long enough to obtain a settlement under which his legal fees would be paid out of his daughter’s estate. “She doesn’t want a settlement with her father. She doesn’t want mediation,” Rosengart told the judge. “He wants money. He wants delay.”
Rosengart had filed a petition to immediately suspend Jamie Spears from the conservatorship based on the surveillance allegations in the recently-released documentary Controlling Britney Spears. “They eavesdropped on some of the most intimate conversations of my client with her children, her boyfriend and her counsel. They plotted and schemed to place a listening device in my client’s bedroom,” he said.
Arguing that Britney’s father is “a cruel, toxic, abusive man,” Rosengart said it was long past time to remove him from the conservatorship.
Opposing his suspension, Jamie Spears’ lawyer Vivian Thoreen argued that it would be better to simply terminate the conservatorship. “There is not a shred of evidence for suspension. Mr Spears has faithfully and loyally served. His record is impeccable,” said Thoreen, who added that he disputed the surveillance allegations and criticised the source calling it a “TV Show” and said, “This is not evidence. This is rhetoric.”
Rosengart countered that aside from the surveillance claims, there was “a mountain of evidence mandating his suspension,” including his domestic violence restraining order with Spears’ children, Jamie Spears’ bankruptcy filing, and the singer’s accusation that he is an alcoholic.
The attorney also pointed out that Britney Spears’ estate is not growing under her father’s management and has come to a “grinding halt” as she refuses to work with her father in charge of the conservatorship. “Mr Spears has zero experience in business, zero experience in finance,” he further added.
After hearing both sides of the argument for about an hour-and-a-half, the judge ruled that Jamie Spears will no longer serve as the conservator of his daughter’s estate, immediately removing him from the control of her estate and finances.
“I believe that the suspension is in the best interests of the conservatee [Britney Spears]. The current situation is untenable,” the judge remarked.
Jodi Montogomery, conservator of Britney Spears’ person, who manages her day-to-day well-being and medical decisions, will continue in her role for the time being as agreed by the pop singer.
An accountant has been appointed to temporarily control the estate until a decision is taken on the conservatorship.
The court will determine whether the conservatorship will be ended entirely at the next scheduled hearing on November 12.