Britney Spears’ Dad Agrees to Step Down as Conservator
[Source: ABC News]
Celebrity Divorce Lawyer Christopher C. Melcher of Walzer Melcher LLP, which was named best family law firm in 2021, Explains Why Britney Spears’ Dad Agreed to Step Down as Conservator
Britney Spears‘ father, Jamie Spears, has agreed to step down as her conservator. Mr. Spears intends to work with the court and his daughter’s new attorney to prepare for an orderly transition to a new conservator. So it’s unclear, now that Jamie Spears has essentially stepped aside, what happens next. But in less than a month on the job, Matthew Rosengart, a former federal prosecutor, is doing work for Britney Spears.
Linsey Davis: And top family law attorney, Christopher C. Melcher of high net worth family law firm Walzer Melcher LLP, who works with several celebrities in California, joins us once again to break all of this down. Jamie Spears in a filing today said he does not believe that a public battle with his daughter would be in her best interest. But if you read the fine print, he’s still contesting what he calls the unjustified petition for his removal. So how long could it be before Britney Spears actually regains control of her finances? And is there a scenario where that doesn’t happen?
“Jamie is on his way out. I believe he knows that he’s going to be removed, and now he’s really trying to negotiate terms of surrender. So this wasn’t an unqualified resignation. It was really a noisy withdraw saying that he would leave if the attorney’s fees that he’s racked up, $1.2 million in attorney’s fees, about $500,000 of which were there for crisis management and public relations to improve his own image. He wants the court to approve that or Britney to agree to that.
To me, that’s improper because Jamie is not just the father. He’s in a fiduciary role, so he has to serve her best interests. And he can’t condition things on self-interested transactions, like making sure his own attorney’s fees are paid, and he knows that those are objected to. So I don’t really buy his story that he’s doing this to avoid a conflict, because Britney has been trying to get rid of Jamie since November of last year. And it’s only now that he’s saying he would step aside,” states celebrity lawyer Christopher C. Melcher of top family law firm Walzer Melcher in Los Angeles, CA.
Linsey Davis: Now, Britney Spears’ new attorney stated they will continue investigating the conduct of Mr. Spears and the money that he made while he was in charge of the conservatorship. In your opinion, is that just aimed at making him speed up the process of stepping down? Or depending on what they find, could Jamie Spears actually be legally liable for his actions during the past 13 years?
“Britney’s going to go after her father one way or the other. Whether Jamie’s removed now or later, that’s coming. She’s told us that in her court statement that she wants to have him held accountable, and there are many irregular transactions that I’ve seen here that Jamie is going to have to explain, and he’s held to a very high standard.
Some of these have been approved by the court and that’ll be a defense that he’ll raise. Others though are not so clear…Matthew Rosengart, the new attorney for Britney is holding him accountable. I think it would be best if Jamie just stepped aside and let the process go forward, because this is his daughter. And there is this medical team according to the other conservator, Jodi Montgomery, that says that every day that this is going on is harming Britney and that she should have her freedom. She should have the right to make decisions, good or bad, just like the rest of us do,” explained Christopher C. Melcher.
Linsey: This conservatorship battle has made so many of us aware of these types of arrangements. How unusual was this case and how often do they end with someone fighting to get out of it?
“This is a bizarre case… It was convinced somehow that giving notice to Britney of this conservatorship request by her father would cause harm to her. So they placed her under a temporary conservatorship. There was never a capacity determination. No doctor has ever presented evidence or a declaration saying that she’s incapacitated. And she eventually capitulated to it because she was concerned about losing her relationship with her children.
And there are some court records that suggest that this was dangled in front of her, that if she went along with the conservatorship, that she wouldn’t lose her children. It is heartbreaking, and if this can happen to Britney Spears for 13 years, it can happen to anyone. And there are plenty of conservatorships out there, many I’m sure for the good of the person, but there are also ones that are abusive. And the people that are placed in charge of protecting can also be abusers,” explained celebrity lawyer Christopher C. Melcher.
©2021 ABC News. No claims made to copyrighted material. Aired 8/16/21.