#FreeBritney: Jamie Spears Files to End Conservatorship Over Daughter Britney Spears. Here's Everything You Need to Know About Conservatorships in California Following Spears' Heartbreaking Hearing
Spears was originally put under legal conservatorship in 2008 by the Los Angeles Superior Court following multiple public breakdowns, rehab visits and psychiatric hospitalizations.
Update 9/8: The ungoing conservatorship battle between Britney Spears and her father, Jamie Spears, that has sparked an immense amount of attention and outrage throughout the summer looks like it's finally reaching a conclusion.
As of late Tuesday night, Jamie Spears officially filed for a petition to end his conversvatorship over his daughter in Los Angles Superior Court, marking a turning point and victory for fans and supporters of the #FreeBritney movement that's completely taken over social media.
"As Mr. Spears has said again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter," the filing reportedly states. "If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance."
The documents state that there are no "urgent circumstances" that would force Spears to step aside immediately but that he will work with the court on an "orderly transition" when the time is right.
It was tough to read and even tougher to listen to as superstar Britney Spears shocked the world by finally voicing her side of the story for the first time in 13 years amid a conservatorship battle.
A shaken yet strong Spears told a Los Angeles courtroom of the trauma and abuse she has endured under the conservatorship of her father, Jamie Spears, in a 24-minute testimony that came on the heels of the contentious Framing Britney Spears documentary and a New York Times report that claimed the star has been trying to get out of her conservatorship for years.
Spears told the court disturbing details of the past 13 years, including being put on Lithium by her therapist against her will (she said her father was “all for it”); being forced into multiple intense therapy sessions a week against her will, where paparazzi waited for her outside; likening her father’s overworking of her and stripping of all of her possessions and privacy to "sex trafficking;" claiming she was (and still is) not permitted to take out an IUD that was implanted in her; and calling for an end to the conservatorship without an additional psychiatric evaluation.
“I don’t feel like I can live a full life,” Spears said. “I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized. You know, fake it till you make it. But now I’m telling you the truth, OK? I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry it’s insane. And I’m depressed. I cry every day.”
Spears was originally put under legal conservatorship in 2008 by the Los Angeles Superior Court following multiple public breakdowns, rehab visits and psychiatric hospitalizations. She was placed under the control of her father, Jamie Spears, and co-conservator Andrew Wallet (who resigned from the role in March 2019.)
But what exactly is a conservatorship, and what qualifies Spears — or anyone — to be placed under one by law?
According to the California Judicial Branch, a conservatorship is defined as “a court case where a judge appoints a responsible person or organization (called the “conservator”) to care for another adult (called the “conservatee”) who cannot care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finances.”
The state says that conservatees are often "elderly people" or "younger people with temporary or permanent mental or physical disabilities."
In Spears’ case, her father, in his role as conservator, has complete control over her career and serves as co-conservator of her estate (a role he shares with Bessemer Trust, a third-party financial group).
Conservators essentially control and decide every aspect of the conservatee’s life, with duties including deciding where the conservatee will live, what the conservatee will eat, wear, where they will go, how their health will be taken care of and what they can do for "recreation."
For conservators of estates (which Spears' father is), duties include managing the conservatee’s finances, controlling their assets, managing their income, paying their bills and even investing their money.
The California court acknowledges that inducing a conservatorship is a “long and complex process” and that before beginning the legal proceedings, the proposed conservator (or conservatee if they are asking for conservatorship) should “be sure this is an appropriate arrangement for the proposed conservatee.”
“When a person becomes a conservatee, he or she does not necessarily lose the right to take part in important decisions affecting his or her property and way of life,” California law states. “All conservatees have the right to be treated with understanding and respect and to have their wishes considered. They have all basic human rights, as well.”
The state also notes that “The conservatee has the right to ask questions and to express concerns and complaints about the conservatorship.”
Due to health issues in 2019, Spears’ father was temporarily replaced as conservator by his daughter’s care manager, Jodi Montgomery.
In August 2020, Britney Spears’ attorney filed a petition addressing concerns to the court that the singer was “afraid” of her father and that Spears “will not perform again if her father is in charge of her career,” asking for Jamie Spears to be suspended as conservator and to not allow him to return back to his role.
The petition was declined in November of that same year, though it did result in Spears’ father being asked to split responsibilities of overseeing his daughter’s estate with Bessemer Trust.
In December 2020, the conservatorship was extended through September 2021.
To end a conservatorship early, California law states that “the conservatee, the conservator, a relative or friend of the conservatee, or some other interested person can ask the court to end the conservatorship.”
It is then the duty of the court to ask the court investigator to “evaluate the case and the conservatee’s condition to see if the conservatorship should be ended.” The judge then makes the final decision.
The court also has the power to end the conservatorship by removing the conservator if he or she “is not doing the job or is not able to do it,” in which case the court will appoint a new conservator.
The same law also states that the conservatee or any relatives or friends can request to “remove and replace the conservator,” as Spears has tried to do.
“I deserve to have a life,” Spears said of her 13-year guardianship under her father. “I’ve worked my whole life … and I’m tired of feeling alone. I deserve to have the same rights as anybody does, by having a child, a family, any of those things, and more so.”
Spears’ hearing is set to resume after a recess that was called Wednesday afternoon.