Singer Britney Spears’ father James Spears has said that he will step down as her conservator “when the time is right”, AP reported on Thursday. James Spears is a joint conservator of the pop singer’s personal matters and money along with care manager Jodi Montgomery.

A conservatorship is a court-appointed set up in the United States in which an individual or an organisation protects and manages the personal care and/or finances of a person after a judge deems them unfit to handle their own matters.

The pop star has been under conservatorship since 2008 when she went through a mental health crisis. She has repeatedly spoken about being abused and humiliated under the arrangement. Spears’ fans have started an online campaign called #FreeBritney in her support.

In June, she asked a court in Los Angeles to remove her father as her conservator but her request was turned down. Another hearing in the matter is scheduled for September, according to Reuters.

The pop singer’s father claimed in his court documents on Thursday that he had been “the unremitting target of unjustified attacks”, according to AP. James Spears added that a public spat between him and his daughter would not be in her best interests.

“Mr. Spears continues to serve dutifully, and he should not be suspended or removed, and certainly not based on false allegations,” the document said. “Mr. Spears is willing to step down when the time is right, but the transition needs to be orderly and include a resolution of matters pending before the court.”

Britney Spears’ lawyer Mathew Rosengart described the development as a “major victory”, Reuters reported. “We are pleased that Mr Spears and his lawyer have today [Thursday] conceded in a filing that he must be removed,” the lawyer said.

The conservatorship controversy

Britney Spears’, who has a fortune of over $50 million (approximately Rs 372 crore), began her efforts to remove her father as her personal conservator in 2020. On June 23, she told a court that she felt forced to carry on with her performances, take medication and use birth control against her wishes, reported CNN.

“I just want my life back,” she had said. “It’s been 13 years and it’s enough.... I thought I might become happy because I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatised....”

The pop star claimed that she had been told that she would not be able to get married or have a baby under the conservatorship. “I have an I[U]D [intrauterine device] inside of myself right now so I don’t get pregnant,” she told the court. “I wanted to take the IUD out so I could start trying to have another baby, but this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have children, any more children.”

The singer has 30% custody of her two children with her former husband Kevin Federline.