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Court rejects motion to remove Britney Spears’ father from conservatorship

By | Published on Thursday 1 July 2021

Britney Spears

The court overseeing Britney Spears’ conservatorship has denied a motion to have her father removed from overseeing her financial affairs. This does not directly relate to the musician’s recent statement saying that she wanted to end the conservatorship entirely, but the decision was reached after she spoke in court last week.

Spears’ attorney Samuel Ingham filed to have Jamie Spears removed as co-conservator several months ago, and it was that motion to which the judge responded yesterday. The primary reason for yesterday’s ruling was to confirm the Bessemer Trust as a permanent co-conservator of the singer’s financial affairs. However, the ruling also kept her father in place alongside the Trust.

The judge cannot actually begin considering Spears’ statement that she wants to end her conservatorship because the musician has not yet filed an official petition requesting this.

In a statement at a court hearing last week, Spears said that the conservatorship she has been under since 2008 is “abusive”, claiming that it is used to control her in order to make money for others, including her father.

“I just want my life back”, she told the court. “It’s been thirteen years and it’s enough. It’s been a long time since I’ve owned my money … It makes no sense whatsoever for the state of California to sit back and literally watch me … make a living for so many people, and pay so many people, trucks and buses on the road with me, and be told I’m not good enough. But I’m great at what I do. And I allow these people to control what I do”.

Spears also said that she had never previously petitioned the court to end the conservatorship because she only recently learned that she could do so.

Although Spears has not yet filed any court documents relating to her statement last week, her father has. According to Variety, prior to yesterday’s ruling, Jamie Spears filed papers expressing concern for the management of his daughter’s personal and medical care which is managed by another court-appointed conservator, Jodi Montgomery.

While Spears was heavily critical of her father in last week’s statement, she also made various comments about her medical care and personal restrictions placed upon her – including prohibiting her from having another child. Her father says that this is out of his control, and that currently he is barred from having any contact with his daughter.

“Based on her statements to the court, Mr Spears is concerned that the petition to appoint Jodi Montgomery filed by Ms Spears’ court-appointed counsel Samuel D Ingham III does not reflect her wishes”, says Jamie Spears’ legal filing. “Ms Spears told the court on 23 Jun that she is opposed to being under a conservatorship and revealed her ongoing disputes with Ms Montgomery about her medical treatment and other personal care issues”.

“Unlike Ms Montgomery and Mr Ingham, Mr Spears does not speak or meet with Ms Spears medical team, and he is not permitted to nor does he have the opportunity to provide any input into his daughter’s current medical treatment, diagnosis, or therapy”, it goes on. “Nor does Mr Spears participate in or discuss Ms Spears’ personal affairs with her, such as issues related to her self-care, marriage, and reproductive desires … Mr Spears is simply not involved in any decisions related to Ms Spears’ personal care of medical or reproductive issues”.

An attorney for Montgomery has issued a statement in response to the filing, saying: “Ms Montgomery is a licensed private professional fiduciary who, unlike family members who serve as conservators, is required to follow a code of ethics … Private professional fiduciaries often serve in cases as a neutral decision-maker when there are complex family dynamics, as in this case”.

“From the very beginning of her appointment in September 2019, Ms Montgomery and the medical team that she assembled have had one primary goal – to assist and encourage Britney in her path to no longer needing a conservatorship of the person”, they add.

They also insist that Montgomery is not blocking Spears from marrying or having a baby, saying: “If Britney needs any assistance with either, Ms Montgomery has and will be there to provide any assistance needed to Britney. Britney’s choice to marry and to start a family have never been impacted by the conservatorship while Ms Montgomery has been conservator of the person”.

It now remains to be seen if and when Britney files to end her conservatorship.

This article was updated on 2 Jul 2021 to clarify some aspects of the conservatorship