Singer Britney Spears’s father intends to “transition” away from acting as her conservator, marking a major potential victory for the pop star as she seeks to dissolve the legal arrangement that has overshadowed her life since 2008.
James “Jamie” Spears maintains that he has only ever acted out of concern for his daughter’s well-being and called the attacks against him “unjustified.” But he indicated Thursday in court documents that he would hand the reins over to a court-approved successor, although it is not clear when he would do so.
“There are, in fact, no actual grounds for suspending or removing Mr. Spears as the Conservator of the Estate under Probate Code section 2650. And it is highly debatable whether a change in conservator at this time would be in Ms. Spears’ best interests,” the singer’s father said in the documents.
“Nevertheless, even as Mr. Spears is the unremitting target of unjustified attacks, he does not believe that a public battle with his daughter over his continuing service as her conservator would be in her best interests,” the documents said.
Jamie Spears will continue to fight for control over his daughter’s estate in the court system. The filing states that “he must contest this unjustified Petition for his removal” but that he also “intends to work with the Court and his daughter’s new attorney to prepare for an orderly transition to a new conservator.” His attorneys claimed in the court filling that he “had already been working on such a transition” with the singer’s previous attorney, Sam Ingham, who had been appointed by the court.
Britney Spears scored another win last month when she was permitted to choose her own legal representation for the first time since the conservatorship was created. She had grabbed headlines in June when she spoke out for the first time against the arrangement, calling it “abusive.”
“This is a major victory for Britney Spears and another step toward justice,” the pop star’s attorney Mathew Rosengart said in a statement to HuffPost.
“We are pleased that Mr. Spears and his lawyer have today conceded in a filing that he must be removed. We are disappointed, however, by their ongoing shameful and reprehensible attacks on Ms. Spears and others,” Rosengart wrote on behalf of his client.
He added: “We look forward to continuing our vigorous investigation into the conduct of Mr. Spears, and others, over the past 13 years, while he reaped millions of dollars from his daughter’s estate, and I look forward to taking Mr. Spears’s sworn deposition in the near future. In the interim, rather than making false accusations and taking cheap shots at his own daughter, Mr. Spears should remain silent and step aside immediately.”
Jamie Spears’s attorneys had stated in Thursday’s filing that “there are no urgent circumstances” justifying his immediate removal.
Though they acknowledged that his relationship with his daughter could be difficult, “as all parent-child relationships are at one time or another,” his attorneys stated that the conservatorship “has worked as intended” to protect the singer.
“For over a decade, the Conservatorship functioned the way it was intended, but recently much has changed,” the filing read, noting the singer’s public criticism and new legal counsel. Attorneys for Jamie Spears argued that Rosengart was moving too quickly, “based on unsubstantiated allegations and improper opinions.”
Rosengart formally filed a petition for Jamie Spears’s removal in late July.
While Britney Spears has been the most vocal proponent of her own financial and personal freedom, her mother, Lynne Spears, and her other conservator, Jodi Montgomery, have also expressed their support for her.