Britney Spears’ Strict Conservatorship Explained on Court TV
[Source: Court TV]
Britney Spears’ Strict Conservatorship Explained by Top Family Law Attorney Christopher C. Melcher on Court TV’s Closing Argument Show.
Vinnie: Britney Spears has been under the control of her father for 13 years. He’s been court-ordered in charge of her finances and her life and she wants to get out from under all of that, and she was back in a courtroom today addressing the judge. Joining us in Los Angeles, California, a journalist with the Associated Press, Andrew Dalton, and one of CA’s best divorce attorneys Christopher C. Melcher.
What happened in court today?
Andrew: Britney Spears finds the entire conservatorship arrangement abusive. She compared herself to a slave a couple of times. In court…she was fairly composed all things considered.
Vinnie: People are upset because they don’t understand how someone who is an adult, able to go out and perform, and earn money doesn’t have control of her own life, and her father is controlling her purse strings and decisions that she can make. How is it that exists? And can she on her own end that?
Chris Melcher: It doesn’t make a lot of sense now. It made sense 13 years ago when we saw that she was struggling, and being tailed by paparazzi, and triggered by them, and she needed help at that point.
But 13 years later especially after doing a Las Vegas residency, that’s a high function for somebody to do work like that grueling schedule- why would they need a conservatorship? So it is a mystery why it’s gone on so long.
It has been a mystery whether she wanted it or not because she could have asked for it to end and she didn’t until now. At least she’s spoken up…
Andrew: The judge said very little. She called Britney courageous for speaking up, but she gave no indication at all how she felt about everything that Britney said. Britney said she would like to be released from this without evaluation and that’s certainly not something that’s going to happen. She’s going to have to demonstrate her competence to an investigator, and to psychologists.
Vinnie: Chris, how long is that process? Does it come down to doctors making recommendations?
Chris Melcher: I don’t know that we’re going to get a resolution this year because she’s yet to file the petition to terminate.
Then the next step would ordinarily be an evaluation by a mental health professional. I know the court would want that to happen but can’t force her to do that. If she refuses to be evaluated, the court could consider the refusal in denying her request to end the conservatorship.
But to me, I mean, what’s an evaluator really going to add to this?
This should be obvious to the court whether she needs it or not. And even if the court had an evaluation and the evaluator said that she really needs the conservatorship, the court can disagree and end it based on her own testimony. So there’s going to be a little showdown on whether this eval’s going to happen or not, but ultimately she’s going to have to sell this.
She’s going to have to persuade the court. If those statements and allegations that she made today aren’t completely accurate, that’s going to be used against her later on that she’s misperceiving events and that could hurt her ability to get out from under this. She really needed to come in cool, acknowledging that she had problems before and then saying how she’s overcome those, &how that’s not going to happen again.
Vinnie: Andrew, did she bring up the fact that she wants to get married, wants to have children, and she’s being prohibited from doing that?
Andrew: She wants to marry her boyfriend,& have another baby. She has two teenage sons. And she said very specifically that she is being forced to take birth control, that she’s being prevented from getting married like she wants and that’s actually causing a lot of outrage.
Vinnie: How does the allegations work here? Would there be testimony? Would people be subpoenaed? Take the witness stand?
Chris Melcher: It’s going to need to happen if she files a petition to terminate the conservatorship, the court’s going to have to hold a hearing. The court would hear from Britney, maybe an evaluator. The court may also hear from the conservators themselves, there are three of them involved& may have witnessed behavior that would show the need for continuation of the conservatorship.
Vinnie: Does this only happen to people who are really rich and have lots of money? Or how common is this?
Chris Melcher: I’ve heard there’s over a million people under conservatorship in the U.S. I don’t know if that’s accurate but a lot of people are warehoused… These are mostly developmentally disabled people who cannot take care of themselves and need protection, who aren’t going to get better. We don’t hear about those folks. We’re hearing about her because she’s famous and there are teams of lawyers involved.
©2021 Court TV. No claims made to copyrighted material. Aired 6/23/21.