Britney Spears is free. A Los Angeles judge ended the guardianship that has controlled the pop singer’s life and money for nearly 14 years.
The decision culminated an odyssey in which Spears publicly demanded an end to the guardianship, hired her own attorney, had her father removed from his remaining control, and finally gained the freedom to make her own medical, financial and personal decisions for the first time. time since 2008.
“The guardianship of the person and estate of Britney Jean Spears has been terminated,” said Judge Brenda Penny.
Happiness exploded outside court where fans were yelling and chanting after the decision was announced. The crowd was yelling “Britney! Britney! Britney! ” and fans sang and danced to Spears’ song “Stronger.”
Soon Spears tweeted about the decision: “Jeez, I love my fans so much, it’s crazy !!! I think I’m going to cry the rest of the day !!! The best day … thank God … can I say Amen? “
Spears’s attorney, Mathew Rosengart, told fans and reporters that the case “helped shed a light on guardianships and conservatories from coast to coast from California to New York. And that required an enormous amount of deep understanding, courage and grace. “
The judge’s decision was widely awaited and little support remained for the existing legal agreement. No new arguments were presented at the 30-minute hearing. Spears did not attend court.
Just earlier this year it seemed that the guardianship could last for years. Then the changes came with surprising speed.
One of the keys to the new direction was a speech Spears gave during a hearing in June in which she passionately described the restrictions and scrutiny on her life as “abusive” measures. Spears requested that the guardianship end without an intrusive assessment of her mental state.
Legal experts said at the time that this was unlikely to happen as it would be a legal practice far from the norm.
But the judge said in a hearing Wednesday that California law did not require her to request further evaluations from Spears if no one requested them.
The judge in July allowed him to hire Rosengart, who was chosen by Britney Spears. The attorney’s first goal was to have James Spears removed from his role as Britney Spears’ financial guardian before working to terminate the guardianship entirely. The judge suspended James Spears as guardian in a September hearing, citing the “toxic environment” his presence had created.
But there may be future legal battles.
Rosengart has agreed to conduct a detailed investigation into James Spears’ role in the guardianship. He said he and his team have encountered mishandling of Britney Spears’ finances, hinting that they could take further legal action. Court documents value Britney Spears’ fortune at about $ 60 million.
The lawyer has also said authorities should investigate revelations in a New York Times documentary about a listening device placed inside Britney Spears’ bedroom.
James Spears’ attorneys said Rosengart’s allegations ranged from unfounded to impossible, and that the father only acted on behalf of his daughter.
The post-curatorial struggle has already started in some way. James Spears parted ways with the attorneys who helped him operate the conservatorship and hired Alex Weingarten, an attorney who specializes in the type of litigation that lies ahead.
In court documents filed last week, former business managers for Britney Spears, Tri Star Sports, and Entertainment Group, rejected Rosengart’s demands for documents about her involvement in the conservatorship from 2008 to 2018. The group also denied any role or knowledge in the vigilance exercised on the singer.
Jodi Montgomery, the court-appointed guardian who has overseen the singer’s personal affairs and medical decisions since 2019, developed a plan of care with her therapists and doctors to guide her through the end of the guardianship and its consequences.
“There is no reason Miss Spears cannot lead a safe, happy and rewarding life after this guardianship,” Montgomery’s attorney, Lauriann Wright, said at the hearing.
The judge temporarily kept a small portion of the guardianship to allow the accountant who took over from James Spears to put the singer’s affairs in order in the coming months before returning power to her.
Britney Spears was a 26-year-old mother of two young boys at the peak of her career when her father established guardianship, first temporarily, in February 2008 following a series of mental breakdowns that became public.
The guardianship ends a few weeks before her 40th birthday, when her children are teenagers and her career is on an indefinite hiatus, in addition to being engaged to be married a second time.
A turning point came in 2019 when he canceled a concert residency in Las Vegas.
Convinced that she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital against her will, fans began to rally to demand that the court release Britney with the hashtag #FreeBritney. They were initially dismissed as conspirators, but the same singer validated them in 2020 in a series of documents filed with the court in which she said they were correct in demanding greater transparency and scrutiny of their legal situation.
Those documents turned out to be the first indication that Spears, who had been quiet about guardianship for years, would seek major changes.
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Britney Is Free: Judge Dissolves Spears Guardianship … And There May Be Future Legal Battles