What Is a Conservatorship and How Can Britney Spears Get Out of Hers?

What Is a Conservatorship and How Can Britney Spears Get Out of Hers?
(Photo by Chris Polk/FilmMagic)

The release of the New York Times documentary Framing Britney Spears has sent the world into a collective tailspin earlier this year. The production, which focuses on the career and tumultuous personal life of Spears, mobilised droves of people to speak out in support of the pop star; calling out the poor treatment she has faced over the course of her time in the spotlight.

If you still haven’t caught the documentary, you can watch it free on 9Now here.

In the interim, however, I thought it would be worthwhile taking a moment to discuss one of the central points of the documentary, her recent court proceedings and the entire #FreeBritney movement: her conservatorship.

What is a conservatorship?

As Harpers Bazaar reports, a conservatorship is defined by the California Courts as:

a court case where a judge appoints a responsible person or organisation (called the “conservator”) to care for another adult (called the “conservatee”) who cannot care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finances.

In Spears’ case, her father Jamie Spears has stood as conservator for 13 years. The court ruling came into place after Spears’ very public mental health crisis in 2008. At this point in time, Spears was hospitalised and spent a period in rehab. It was believed her conservatorship would be temporary, but the arrangement has continued on for over a decade.

The results of this conservatorship have meant that Jamie Spears has long been in charge of all decisions pertaining to Spears’ finances, health, career and personal life.

Can Britney take back control of her life?

According to court documents that emerged in August 2020, Britney Spears’ conservatorship has been described as a “voluntary” one. However, Harpers Bazaar reports that the performer has expressed her wishes to gradually regain control of her assets and personal life.

Back in 2020, Spears’ lawyer shared that the artist was “strongly opposed” to her father acting as conservator. It was requested that a professional conservator currently take the position permanently. This request was made with the caveat, as the NYT has shared, that it doesn’t waive Britney Spears’ “right to seek termination of this conservatorship in the future”.

In most recent news, Spears has spoken openly in court about her wish to regain control over her life.

“This conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good,” she is quoted saying.

“I deserve to have a life.”

As the AP reports, there is no indication of whether or not Spears’ wishes will be granted but the only way she will be able to end her conservatorship is if she can prove she is no longer in need of its services.

This article has been updated since its original publish date. 

If you’re in need of support, help is available Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.

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