On November 12th, 2021 the conservatorship over Britney Spears was terminated permanently after 13 years. The legal custody which controlled Britney’s personal life along with her financial life began on February 1, 2008 after a series of incidents wherein her parents claimed the singer was incapable of taking care of herself. It started out as temporary but after a couple of extensions it became permanent on October, 28th, 2008.
Good God I love my fans so much it’s crazy 🥺❤️ !!! I think I’m gonna cry the rest of the day !!!! Best day ever … praise the Lord … can I get an Amen 🙏🏼☀️🙌🏼 ???? #FreedBritney
— Britney Spears (@britneyspears) November 12, 2021
So what exactly is a conservatorship? Are they constitutional? Why is it so hard to get one removed? Is it as hard to gain one over someone else? If it is, why can’t the state gain conservatorship over cases like Nick Cruz?
According to Legal Match, a conservatorship is where someone is placed in charge of another person or estate. This usually applies to someone who has a mental illness and is incapable of protecting themselves either financially, personally, or both.
“A conservator may be a conservator of the “estate,” that is, the property, financial and business affairs of a person. Or a conservator may be a conservator of the “person”, where the conservator takes over supervision of the daily activities of the conservatee, such as health care and living arrangements. A conservator can be a conservator of both the estate and the person. If a conservatorship is for the person only, in most states they will be called a “legal guardian”.”
A conservatorship needs to be filed to the right court and then evidence presented proving why and how the individual is mentally incompetent. If there is enough evidence the court will grant the conservatorship and then appoint a conservator over the person. Most of the time, the courts prefer to go with spouses or blood relatives. The idea is that the person usually isn’t capable of picking their own, but a judge does their best to appoint someone who will follow the wishes of the individual.
Conservatorships can be temporary and if someone has a strong enough mental faculty, they can absolutely petition and request the conservatorship come to an end.
Legalmatch says “a conservatorship hearing is a legal proceeding in which interested parties can appear, present evidence and make arguments regarding any issue relevant to the case. There is no jury; the judge decides the case, makes the ruling and appoints the conservator. But interested parties, e.g. a spouse or adult child, certainly has the right to appear and be heard.”
It should also be noted that removing a conservator must be done for a valid reason, including conservatorship abuse, fraud, misuse or abuse of power over the individual, and many other violations of rules or laws of conservatorship. Unfortunately not liking the conservator is not a good reason for the courts to appoint someone new. Another petition will need to take place to gain a new conservator. This can be filed by other family or the conservatee. Only an “interested party” may make the petition.
Ending the conservatorship can be just as difficult as beginning one as there will need to be a strong argument and backing evidence to prove that the conservatee is capable of taking back the financial, personal, or both aspects of their day to day life. The type of conservatorship that was granted to Jamie Spears over his daughter was a probate conservatorship according to a family law litigator interviewed by Fox News.
“There was no reason to place this type of conservatorship over her in the first place,” Christopher Melcher said. “The one that her father had placed on her is called a probate conservatorship, and that’s for people who are typically end-of-life, they’re incapacitated, they cannot provide basic things like food, clothing or shelter, or resist undue influence or fraud because they’re incapacitated.”
With Nick Cruz and others like him, it’s incredibly difficult and potentially costly to apply to the courts to gain conservatorship over another person. Britney Spears had a very public meltdown that was seen by anyone watching the news in 2007 and 2008. Spears was all over the tabloids and celebrity gossip rags with her antics, from shaving her head to attacking a photographer with an umbrella.
So once things got better for her, why didn’t Britney just petition to end the conservatorship altogether? Despite the obvious comments that Britney Spears made over the past thirteen years, it’s interesting that she never made the attempt. It’s what led many to speculate that she petitioned for a new personal attorney because the court appointed one never told her she could request an end to it. Instead, Britney Spears had been attending her yearly conservatorship hearings hoping and praying the judge would bring it all to a close or at least make it better for her.
“”Ma’am, I didn’t know I could petition the conservatorship to end it. I’m sorry for my ignorance, but I honestly didn’t know that,” Spears said to the judge, according to Newsweek back in July of 2021.
If that’s the case, then when did she decide she’d had enough? How did she find out she could petition to end it if the attorney hadn’t told her? Well, that would be her fans. They started a “Free Britney” movement on social media after several comments betrayed to them how badly their pop icon hated being controlled. Back in 2019, Spears was also forced into a mental health facility against her will. Spears has also not been able to get remarried or have a baby. She wasn’t even allowed to go to a doctor to have her contraceptive device removed.
After seeing the support of her fans, Britney Spears has spent most of this last year fighting for her freedom. On Sept. 29th, 2021 Britney Spears was told by the judge over her case that (at the time) she would be terminating the conservatorship temporarily, which prompted the singer to thank her fans the following Monday.
#FreeBritney movement … I have no words … because of you guys and your constant resilience in freeing me from my conservatorship … my life is now in that direction !!!!! I cried last night for two hours cause my fans are the best and I know it … pic.twitter.com/7OpsOKoHNc
— Britney Spears (@britneyspears) October 4, 2021
Britney Spears may still sue her father for the abuse and alleged spying over the thirteen years that he served as the main conservator over her life. So far, she has not stated with any certainty if she is willing to put forth the cost and energy of doing so.