Britney Spears has a long road ahead of her after speaking out in court about her conservatorship.
The pop star, 39, broke her silence when she called in to a hearing on Wednesday, June 23. “The main reason why I’m here is because I want to end the conservatorship without being evaluated,” she said while detailing allegations of treatment by her father, Jamie Spears, since being placed under the order in 2008.
Now that Britney has stated her desire to be free from the conservatorship, there are further steps to be taken. “The process has two prongs,” Mina Sirkin, Los Angeles-based attorney and founder of the Sirkin Law Group, tells Us Weekly. “One is to file a petition for termination, in which case the court will give her a hearing date and the trial date. And then No. 2 is that there would be some evidence that needs to be presented on that — like, a doctor’s capacity of declaration where the doctor would say she has been restored to capacity. In this particular case, because it’s a temporary conservatorship, the court at that hearing could say, ‘OK, the temporary conservatorship is over, she can go home.’”
However, the singer is unlikely to prove the conservatorship should be terminated without being evaluated. “That doesn’t put her in a strong position because presumably the last evaluation supported the conservators’ petition to continue the conservatorship,” Jan Costello, professor at Loyola Law School, explains. “Without a new evaluation, the judge would have to take into consideration the last evaluation she had. If she refuses to be reevaluated, the judge may say, ‘Well, but I have no new information then as a basis for changing the conservatorship.’ So, the chances of her being able to terminate the conservatorship would be very slim without that because the judge has to be satisfied that there are sufficient grounds for the change.”
If Britney moves forward with the petition to terminate, she will have to go through a termination hearing, which is like a mini trial. Sirkin notes that she will have to “show evidence that proves that she has regained her capacity,” whether that be a declaration written by a doctor or testimonies of those close to her. The conservators — Jamie and Jodi Montgomery — can also present their own witnesses.
The Grammy winner could request a jury trial if she wants to tell her story and allow the group to decide whether the conservatorship ends. Although Sirkin says Britney could ask for one, most hearings to terminate a conservatorship are held in front of a judge, not a jury. “We won’t know if she will [ask for a jury trial] until she files her petition,” she adds.
However, despite the outcome, Costello tells Us the conservators “could go back and file again a petition for the conservatorship.”
Britney finally said her piece during the court hearing, but according to Sirkin, her Wednesday statement “would not make a difference” when it comes to the termination of her conservatorship because she has not filed a petition yet. She will have the opportunity to testify in the future but could “also be questioned by the other party’s attorneys.”
As for the “Toxic” songstress’ claims that she wants to be able to “have a baby” but cannot because she has “a IUD inside of myself right now so I don’t get pregnant” and has been told she cannot take it out, Costello says she “could submit a motion [to change her care plan] or her attorney could submit the motion orally in court.”
However, Michael Stutman, New York-based lawyer and founding partner of Stutman Stutman & Lichtenstein, LLP, tells Us that “the conservator is granted a fairly significant level of discretion before a judge is going to substitute his or her judgment.”
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With reporting by Marjorie Hernandez
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