2008 was a momentous year in the history of the United States. It was a year filled with highs and lows: Barack Obama won the US presidency, Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy triggered an economic recession, the stock market collapsed, and pop princess Britney Spears was placed under conservatorship.
It seemed like a long time ago, but given today’s circumstances, it’s like 2008 all over again. Another global recession looms and Britney is still under conservatorship, with her fans saying it’s time to #FreeBritney.
What is a conservatorship?
Called guardianship in other states (including Washington state), a conservatorship is an arrangement whereby courts appoint a legal guardian to handle the personal affairs of another. Being placed under guardianship is quite common for minors below 18 and for adults deemed incapable of functioning on their own. For a pop star at her professional and creative peak, it’s not so common.
Many people had, in fact, become familiar with the term “conservatorship” because of the pop legend’s personal troubles. Like red latex catsuits and shaving one’s head under great emotional distress, conservatorship has cruelly become associated with the Britney brand.
But conservatorship is not the only legal concept that has become closely associated with Brit-Brit. She’s also become associated with extraordinary legal situations involving child custody and child support issues.
A toxic child custody decision
Britney’s erratic behavior in the ’00s spawned countless memes, disastrous live performances, and run-ins with the paparazzi. The most devastating consequence for her, however, was being denied a favorable child custody decision. That is why, in 2007, her ex-husband Kevin Federline obtained sole physical custody of their boys, Jayden James and Sean Preston.
Fast forward to 2018 — Britney only had 30% unsupervised custody of the children. Presently, she’s reportedly still fighting to gain 50-50 custody.
There’s an important distinction between her being under a conservatorship and not getting a favorable custody decision. Simply put, she was granted reduced visitation rights not because she is under conservatorship but because she had highly publicized personal troubles, which put her under conservatorship in the first place.
Hit her with another request to increase child support payments...one more time
Britney’s net worth as of 2018 was $59 million. That’s a lot of money. But because of the legal guardianship, she doesn’t get to decide how she spends it. Allegedly.
She and her publicists claim that she’s still in control of how she spends her fortune. That may be true, but a recent Instagram post where she confesses accidentally burning down her private gym reveals she is not in control of her scented candles.
The last time we wrote about Brit’s child support battles was to report on K-Fed’s demand to raise child support payments from $20,000 to $60,000. What’s rarely discussed is whether the conservatorship affects her child support payments.
It appears that it does not. The court determines the appropriate amount of child support payments she needs to make and establishes if, say, Kevin’s request to triple the payments is justified.
Remarry…oops, can she do it again?
Sources close to Britney’s team claim that she and her current boyfriend Sam Asghari are talking about getting married. But can she remarry despite still having a legal guardian?
It is in this scenario that the conservatorship rears its ugly head. In her present circumstances, Britney can’t get married unless her legal guardian approves. And if her conservator gets to decide how she spends her money, they get to decide whether she can get married.
Should Britney decide to get married, her conservator would most certainly ensure she signs a prenup. And though Britney does not have the best marital record, she does have a solid team of lawyers that will protect her from another failed marriage that can lead to a substantial reduction in the assets of Britney Spears, Inc.
That is arguably because those who oversee Britney Spears, Inc. have a vested interest in preserving its riches. After all, the conservatorship nets the conservator hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Should it be terminated, her guardian(s) would stop receiving conservator payments.
Singer, songwriter, and British accent aficionado Britney Spears may be a millionaire, but she’s just like any other divorcee who deserves rights and a good family law attorney. To know your rights in child custody disputes in the Evergreen State, call Seattle family law attorneys Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams.