- Now that Britney Spears told a judge she wants her conservatorship to end, she has more options.
- Legal experts say Spears has three paths moving forward from her conservatorship.
- But ousting her father, Jamie – or ending the conservatorship entirely – is a long process.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
On June 23, Britney Spears told a judge that her father was ruining her life and that she wanted her conservatorship – which he oversees – to end.
“He loved the control to hurt his own daughter 100,000%,” Spears said of her father, Jamie. “He loved it.”
“It’s my wish and my dream for all of this to end,” she added.
That statement made all the difference in the pop star’s quest to end her 13-year conservatorship, legal experts told Insider.
“The big difference now – as opposed to even a few months ago – is this is the first time that Britney has spoken up and said, quite loudly and clearly, ‘I want this to end. I do not want my father to be conservator of me anymore,” Andy Mayoras, a trust and estates attorney and extensive commentator on celebrity legal disputes, told Insider. “She has not said that until recently.”
The judge overseeing Spears’ conservatorship allowed her to appoint Mathew Rosengart as her personal attorney last week. She has several paths forward now that she has a lawyer who can represent her own interests, experts say.
The pop star has three options moving forward
The first possibility would be for Spears to end the conservatorship entirely. To do that, the singer and Rosengart would need to show Judge Brenda Penny that she no longer needs the legal mechanism, which is designed to restrict her freedom and instead allow conservators – Jodi Montgomery for personal decisions and Jamie Spears for financial matters – to make major decisions for her.
The second possibility would be to modify the conservatorship. A new conservatorship structure could take several forms, but modifying it would give Spears more control over her life – like the ability to make reproductive decisions by herself, a greater weekly allowance, and more control over her career.
Modifying the arrangement could also lead to ending it down the road, according to Mayoras.
“Conservators can have limited authority, so that some authority can be given back to Britney and it can be a gradual transition to end it,” Mayoras said. “It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition.”
A third path forward would be to get rid of Jamie Spears as his daughter’s financial conservator while leaving the conservatorship structure broadly the same. In court, Britney Spears has said that she wants Montgomery – who Penny appointed as Spears’s personal conservator in 2019 – to remain in her position for the time being, but that her father should be removed from his position and charged with conservatorship abuse.
While it’s also possible Penny could leave Jamie Spears in place as his daughter’s financial conservator, experts say that’s extremely unlikely now that Britney has accused her father of abuse.
“Even if the judge does not modify the conservatorship, I would be very surprised if the judge would not allow Britney to pick who her conservator is,” Mayoras said. “And if she wants her father replaced, to give her that right to replace him.”
Ousting Jamie Spears will take time
All paths forward will take some time, experts cautioned. Jamie Spears refused to resign when Rosengart asked him to. To oust him, Britney Spears and Rosengart must prove her father breached his fiduciary duty as a conservator, according to Sabino Biondi, an estates and trusts attorney at Wilk Auslander LLP.
“Right now, Britney Spears was basically accusing her father of not doing his job and in essence, abusing his conservator status,” Biondi told Insider. “If the judge agrees that he’s abused his fiduciary position as conservator, she will definitely remove him.”
As Britney Spears’s attorney, Biondi said Rosengart now has the power to ask for detailed accountings of everything Jamie Spears has done with the estate. Rosengart can scrutinize those filings and, if he sees signs of wrongdoing, try to convince the judge that Spears abused his position, Biondi said.
Following an investigation, Rosengart can file a petition to end the conservatorship or modify it.
“The way he spent money and invested money – was in the best interest of Britney Spears? Did he do any kind of self-dealing? Did he profit for himself and not for the benefit of Britney Spears?” Biondi said. “Basically, what he’s looking for is, did he do anything with Britney’s estate that will be tantamount to breach of his fiduciary to Britney Spears? If the answer to that is yes, the judge is going to remove him.”
But any investigation will take time. And while Britney can ask the judge for small carveouts in the meantime, the conservatorship will likely drag on in the same form it’s taken for more than a decade until an investigation is over.
“We’re talking 12 years, and that’s just not what this specific system is designed for,” Mayoras said. “It’s a real tragedy that it’s taken this long for Britney to be able to get her own lawyer and express her own voice to try to end it.”