Britney Spears Wins Major Victory in Conservatorship Battle

Britney Spears Wins Major Victory in Conservatorship Battle

( – Britney Spears has been fighting a very public battle to end her conservatorship (a form of guardianship). She has repeatedly said she doesn’t want her father to have so much control over her life. It looks like she has finally gotten her wish: Jamie Spears is stepping down.

Conservatorship Battle

In 2008, Britney had a very public breakdown. The singer shaved her head, attacked a photographer’s car, was pictured in a number of compromising positions and was eventually committed to psychiatric care. A California court decided the best course of action was to name her dad, Jamie Spears, as her conservator — basically, he had complete control over her life.

Over the last couple of years, Britney has indicated she no longer wants her father to be her conservator. Earlier this summer, she publicly testified about what her life has been like over the past 13 years. During her testimony she accused her father of abusing her conservatorship, said he should be in jail and told the court she never knew she could petition to end the arrangement.

In July, Britney requested the right to hire her own attorney. Judge Brenda Penny agreed and the pop star hired former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart. He immediately got to work. Later that month, her attorney filed to have her father removed as her conservator.

Jamie Spears has steadfastly maintained he never abused his power as his daughter’s conservator. Nonetheless, he is resigning.

Jamie Spears Steps Down

On August 12, Mr. Spears filed a motion with the Los Angeles Superior Court to step down. Britney’s father said he plans to cooperate with the court, but didn’t say exactly when his role would end. His attorney cited the ongoing “public battle with his daughter” as the reason for his decision to remove himself. The elder Spears stated the court has “no actual grounds for suspending or removing”  him from his position as conservator.

His attorney told the court that Jaime had some affairs to wrap up before he stepped aside. Once those matters are complete, he’d resign.

Conservatorship Controversy

Although Britney Spears’ conservatorship has been in the news frequently because of her status as a pop icon, disability rights activists say there are many young people like her. In June, Lawyer Haley Moss, who also has autism and was non-verbal, told the Insider that it’s a “much bigger issue that impacts people every single day” but people don’t think twice because they aren’t in the same social class as Spears.

The Justice Department said there are about 1.3 million active conservatorships in the country. Although there are circumstances where these arrangements are necessary, there are also many situations where people are trying to end their conservatorships but don’t have the same resources as Britney. Moss said that instead of forcing people to give up all of their rights in a conservatorship, supportive decision-making agreements allow for more flexibility and freedom, and might make more sense.

There has been a recent push in Congress to pass conservatorship reforms, but it’s unclear how much support the effort has right now.

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