Pop star Britney Spears will be free of her father’s oversight for the first time since 2008, a Los Angeles judge ruled Wednesday in the latest hearing on the controversial conservatorship that’s dawn a spotlight on guardianships nationwide.
Judge Brenda Penny approved a petition from Britney’s lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, to suspend her father from the position of conservator with power over the singer’s Forbes-estimated $60 million estate.
“The current situation is not tenable,” the judge said in the hearing, as reported by The New York Times. The hearing was not available to live stream.
While Britney is now free of her father’s rule, she is not free of the 13-year legal arrangement that’s prohibited her from making her own personal or financial decisions. John Zabel, a California accountant, will replace Jaime to serve as a temporary conservator.
Jaime had petitioned the court early this month to end the conservatorship altogether in a stunning reversal from an aggressive defense of the arrangement for more than a decade. In court, Jaime’s attorney, Vivian Thoreen, fought to have the the conservatorship abolished as opposed to a mere transfer. That means new conservatees would have access to material under the possession of the conservators. Rosengart requested the judge wait to terminate the arrangement so Jaime’s conduct could be investigated.
In June, Britney demanded accountability for her conservators in her first public rebuke of the arrangement that’s kept her locked in a legal prison for most of her 30s.
“I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive,” Britney told the court in an open hearing, with direct aim at her father “who approved all of it.”
“They’ve done a pretty good job exploiting my life … The people who did this to me should not be able to get away and walk away easily,” she said.
Among the explosive charges against her conservators including forced work and stolen income, Britney accused her handlers of prohibiting her from more children through forced birth control in the form of an IUD.
“I want to be able to get married and have a baby,” she said. “But [my team doesn’t] want me to have more children.”
The controversial saga has escalated over the prior 12 months as more hearings inch the celebrity singer closer to the freedom she once had, which was stripped of her after a series of public meltdowns in 2008. What was at first a allegedly a temporary arrangement quickly became permanent months later.
While conservatorships, or guardianships as they’re primarily called outside California, are last-resort legal arrangements reserved for the severely incapacitated typically through severe mental illness or old age, Britney’s productivity since her conservatorship’s inception has raised doubts about its necessity. Under her court-appointed overseers, Britney released four new albums, went on three world tours, and completed of a grueling four-year residency in Las Vegas.
According to the Department of Justice, 1.3 million adults are under conservatorships that dictate an estimated $50 billion in assets.
Members of the lower chamber have been slower to act despite a pair of top Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee demanding hearings on conservatorship reform in March, citing abuse of the system as an infringement on civil liberties.
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