clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What’s next for Britney Spears? Here’s what legal experts say

It’s been a week since Britney Spears delivered a bombshell address demanding an end to her 13-year conservatorship

A Britney Spears supporter waves a “Free Britney” flag.
A Britney Spears supporter waves a “Free Britney” flag outside of a court hearing concerning the pop singer’s conservatorship at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Los Angeles. The next hearing regarding Spears is scheduled for July 14.
Chris Pizzello, Associated Press

It’s been a week since Britney Spears delivered a bombshell address demanding an end to her 13-year conservatorship.

In her 20-minute speech, the pop star shared harrowing details of the court-approved arrangement — including being on birth control despite her own desire to have another child — and declared: “I just want my life back. It’s been 13 years and it’s enough.”

So what happens next?


The latest news on Britney Spears’ conservatorship

On June 30, Britney Spears’ request to have her father, Jamie Spears, removed from her conservatorship was denied, Variety reported.

The request was actually filed in November 2020, when Spears’ lawyer revealed that the singer was “afraid of her father” and would not perform as long as he remained in charge of her career, the Los Angeles Times reported. Around this same time, the institution Bessemer Trust was appointed to become a co-conservator with Jamie Spears over Britney Spears’ finances.

The judge’s motion — which maintains that Jamie Spears and Bessemer Trust will oversee Spears’ finances, at least for now — comes a week after Britney Spears’ impassioned testimony.


Will Britney Spears’ conservatorship end?

During her hearing on June 23, Spears declared that she wanted an immediate end to her conservatorship without having a medical evaluation. But according to some legal experts, that request will likely not be granted.

  • “I think if she wants to get rid of the conservatorship, then she is going to have to meet with not only the court investigator, but also a mental-health evaluator,” Tamar Arminak, a conservatorship attorney who represented Amanda Bynes’ parents during the actress’ 2014 conservatorship case, told Vulture. “I don’t think a reasonable judge would let her off a conservatorship without her doing that.”

But Spears’ request is just the start. The 39-year-old singer will need to work with her attorney to create a formal petition that asks to end the conservatorship and delineates all of the reasons she believes the arrangement to be unnecessary and no longer required, according to David Glass, a certified family law attorney.

  • ”But even adding that step probably is not enough to get her out of it. I think she’s going to need a psychological evaluation to show that she’s not currently suffering from any mental illness that will prevent her from taking care of herself or taking care of her money,” Glass told Fox News. “And so that may be an issue for her because she expressed that she did not want to have an evaluation.”

Once a petition to end the conservatorship is filed, a “mini-trial” will take place to determine if the conservatorship should continue, Arminak told Vulture.

Arminak told NBC News she believes that the most realistic scenario going forward is for the conservatorship to stay in place with loosened restrictions.

  • “You have to present evidence and show a changed circumstance. You will have to have testimony from doctors, psychiatrists, therapists and witnesses who will testify for you that you shouldn’t be under this conservatorship,” she told Vulture.
  • “I think (Spears’ court-appointed attorney) is looking at the lay of the land and seeing that Britney cannot withstand cross-examination and that Britney is not going to testify well,” she continued. “She spoke from the heart, but the judges are going to be looking for methodical, rational behavior.”

How long will Britney Spears’ legal battle last?

The motion to end Spears’ conservatorship could be discussed at a hearing that is scheduled for July 14, Billboard reported. Spears is not expected to speak at the hearing, according to Vulture.

If a petition to end the conservatorship is opposed by someone involved in the case, the decision will be prolonged as other testimonies are heard; if all parties support the petition, it is then left to the judge to make the ultimate decision.

Spears’ allegations regarding being forced on birth control does put time pressure on the case, family law attorney Peter Walzer told the Los Angeles Times. Walzer believes the court should have an “emergency hearing” concerning the issue.

But on June 30, a lawyer for Jodi Montgomery, who oversees Spears’ personal care, said Spears’ desire to have another child “is unaffected by the conservatorship,” Variety reported. The statement comes after Spears’ father filed new documents this week placing blame on Montgomery for the singer’s treatment under the conservatorship and calling for an investigation.

  • “It is (Montgomery’s) sincere personal wish that Britney continues to make meaningful progress in her well-being so that her conservatorship of the person can be terminated,” Montgomery’s lawyer said in a statement, according to Variety. “Ms. Montgomery looks forward to presenting a comprehensive care plan to the court setting forth a path for termination of the conservatorship for Britney, and Ms. Montgomery looks forward to supporting Britney through that process.”

Considering all of the publicity and attention surrounding the case, a decision regarding the conservatorship could be made sooner rather than later.

  • “This is the first time Britney has stated publicly, and forcefully, that she wants to end the conservatorship,” Neama Rahmani, a Los Angeles-based trial lawyer and former federal prosecutor, said in a statement emailed to the Deseret News. “That’s really important. This is someone who has been successful despite her breakdown back in 2008. Thirteen years is a very long time for someone who is an international star and clearly very capable of taking care of herself. Really, a conservatorship is supposed to be a last resort.”

Patrick Hicks, head of legal for Trust & Will, told Billboard that conservatorships are typically placed on people with lifelong disabilities who are unable to speak for themselves. Consequently, these conservatorships are rarely removed. Spears’ case is different, and that could work in her favor, Hicks said.

  • “With this case, I think that the judge is going to ensure that there’s a little extra scrutiny on the decision,” Hicks said. “And the judge may go back and instead of saying, ‘Well, there’s one in place. Is there enough evidence to remove it?’ I think the judge is going to take another look and say, ‘Is it appropriate that there ever was one in place?’”