Pop singer Britney Spears’ father on Tuesday filed a petition to end the 13-year-long court conservatorship that had him controlling his daughter’s life and finances, reported AP.
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.
In his Tuesday’s filing before a Los Angeles Superior Court, James Spears said that all he wants is what was best for his daughter. “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 petition said.
Judge Brenda Penny, who is hearing the case, will need to approve the move.
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.
In 2019, James Spears had given up control over his daughter’s life decisions but continued to oversee her financial matters. Since then, court-appointed care manager Jodi Montgomery has been handling matters related to the pop singer’s personal choices.
Britney Spears had began her efforts to remove her father as her conservator in 2020. Spears’ fans started an online campaign called #FreeBritney in her support.
In June this year, she asked a court in Los Angeles to remove her father as her conservator but her request was turned down. During the hearing, Britney Spears told the court that she felt forced to carry on with her performances, take medication and use birth control against her wishes.
“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....”
James Spears had asked for a court investigation on the allegations, saying these matters were beyond his control as he had stepped down from his role of taking care of her daughter’s personal decisions.
Later in August, James Spears had said that he will step down as her conservator “when the time is right” but had not given any exact time frame.
James Spears’ petition, which he filed on Tuesday, noted that Britney Spears did not know she could file a plea to end the conservatorship. It said that the judge’s decision to allow her to choose Matthew Rosengart as her attorney showed that the court trusts her with major choices.
The petition said that Britney Spears has shown “a level of independence” by doing things such as driving herself around California.
“Recent events related to this conservatorship have called into question whether circumstances have changed to such an extent that grounds for establishment of a conservatorship may no longer exist,” the petition said, according to BBC.
Reacting to the petition, Rosengart said that it represents another victory for Britney Spears as well as “vindication” for the pop singer.
“It appears that Mr. Spears believes he can try to avoid accountability and justice including sitting for a sworn deposition and answering other discovery under oath, but as we assess his filing (which was inappropriately sent to the media before it was served on counsel) we will also continue to explore all options,” Rosengart said in a email to AP.