Britney Spears, said by her lawyers to be chafing under the 12-year guardianship of her father, has filed an official petition seeking to have him removed as her conservator.
According to documents filed Tuesday in probate court in Los Angeles, the pop star requested the resignation of James “Jamie” Spears as her personal conservator.
She seeks to replace him with Jodi Montgomery, a state-appointed conservator who has temporarily acted as her personal conservator since her father relinquished the role in September 2019 amid health issues.
Britney Spears also reserved the right to petition for the permanent termination of her conservatorship under the state Probate Code.
In an attachment, her lawyer sought to ensure that Montgomery would have the power to make medical decisions, communicate with her doctors and have access to her medical records. She also would be able to limit Britney’s visitors with the exception of her lawyer, retain caretakers and security guards on a 24/7 basis, and prosecute civil harassment restraining orders deemed appropriate.
Britney Spears on July 22, 2019, in Hollywood. (Photo: Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)
The petition does not make clear whether Britney Spears intends for Jamie Spears to retain his other role as conservator of her finances. His lawyers have argued to the probate court hearing the case that he has greatly improved her financial estate, now worth around $60 million.
But a separate document in the court file shows that Jamie Spears and Bessemer Trust, his co-conservator of her finances, will have the power to access all documents and records relating to her assets, and to take actions necessary to secure them, in addition to a host of other powers typically wielded by financial managers.
The petition to remove Jamie Spears may be a direct result of what his lawyer, Vivian Thoreen, said publicly last month in response to criticism on social media and in a new documentary about his daughter’s long conservatorship.
She said fans who accuse Jamie Spears of mistreating his daughter have it “so wrong.”
“(Jamie) would love nothing more than to see Britney not need a conservatorship,” Thoreen told CNN on Feb. 25. “Whether or not there is an end to the conservatorship really depends on Britney. If she wants to end her conservatorship, she can file a petition to end it.”
After public sentiment began building for the #FreeBritney movement, and attacks on Jamie Spears mounted, Thoreen tried to advocate on behalf of her client.
“Jamie is not suggesting that he is the perfect dad or that he would receive any ‘Father of the Year’ award. Like any parent, he doesn’t always see eye-to-eye on what Britney may want,” she told CNN. “But Jamie believes every single decision he has made has been in her best interest.”
USA TODAY has reached out to Thoreen for comment. Britney’s lawyer, Samuel Ingham, declined comment.
Jamie Spears, father of Britney Spears, leaves court on Oct. 24, 2012, in Los Angeles. (Photo: NICK UT/AP)
Britney Spears, 39, has been under a state conservatorship, as guardianship is called in California, since the end of 2008, following a mental-health breakdown. Her father, 68, has been either a co-conservator or sole conservator during most of the period she has been under supervision of the probate court.
Until recently, she continued her climb as a pop superstar, becoming a multimillionaire with a string of platinum-selling records, taking a gig as a “X Factor” judge and becoming the reigning queen of Las Vegas residencies.
By the start of 2019, when she abruptly suspended her Las Vegas show because of her father’s health issues, fans began demanding to know why she still needed a guardian looking after her.
In 2020, Britney Spears’s lawyers began attempting to get her father removed as her conservator, saying she was “strongly opposed” to him remaining in the role.
In November, her lawyer told the court she no longer wanted her father involved in her care, that she is “afraid” of him and would refuse to perform if he remained in charge.
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