If Britney Spears, who turns 40 this year, speaks to a judge in Los Angeles on Wednesday of her own accord, she will do so for 13 years at a enforced conservatory that has exerted great control over her life and money. But what exactly is a conservatory?
Here’s a look at how conservatories work, what’s unusual about them, and why the call for #FreeBritney is getting louder and louder.
HOW DO PRESERVATORS WORK?
If a person is believed to have severely impaired intellectual capacity, a court can intervene and empower someone to make financial and important life decisions on their behalf.
California law states that a conservatory, called guardianship in some states, is warranted for or for an individual “unable to adequately meet their personal needs, such as physical health, food, clothing, or shelter.” someone who is “essentially” unable to manage their own financial resources or who can withstand fraud or undue influence. “
The restorer, as the commissioner is called, can be a family member, a close friend, or a court-appointed professional.
HOW DOES SPEARS WORK?
With a fortune over $ 50 million, secrecy comes in and the court is closely guarding the inner workings of Spears’ conservatory.
Some aspects have been disclosed in documents. The conservatory has the power to restrict its attendance. It arranges and oversees visits with their sons aged 14 and 15; Father Kevin Federline has full custody. It has the power to issue injunctions on their behalf, which it has used more than once to keep out suspected intruders. It has the power to make your medical decisions and business deals.
Legally, Spears can marry, but the conservatory must approve it as with other major life choices.
Like all California conservatories, it is subject to annual accounting and review by a court investigator.
Who has power over spears?
Her father has largely been in charge over the years, and the stereotypical image of a parent taking advantage of a famous child’s fortune fuels hostility to James Spears and the Conservatory, despite every move he makes is under review by the court.
From 2008 to 2019, he had power over their life choices and he and his attorney Andrew Wallet controlled their money. Now he only has financial control and has to share that role with the Bessemer Trust, a property management company. Jodi Montgomery, a court appointed professional, is now acting as the curator for her personal affairs.
WHY DO SO MANY CALL #FREEBRITNEY?
Fans who have fallen in love with Britney Spears’ social media posts and public statements trying to decipher every utterance, dance step, or meme shared have increasingly merged into one movement after believing it was unfairly controlled. Key were two women who turned their hobby of tearing apart Spears ‘Instagram posts into a podcast called “Britney’s’ Gram” in 2017. It would help develop the hashtag #FreeBritney.
Now even smaller hearings can bring dozens of protesters to court with signs like “CONSERVATORSHIP IS SLAVERY” and “THIS IS TOXIC”. Many say they relate to their struggles with mental health and the system. The movement, or at least her emotions, has drawn her fellow stars, including Bette Midler, Miley Cyrus, Paris Hilton and Pitbull.
James Spears has called the group a conspiracy theorist, saying that those who shout #FreeBritney do not understand the entirety of the situation.
WHY WAS IT SET UP IN THE FIRST LINE?
In 2007 and 2008, shortly after she became a mother, she began having very public mental struggles, with the media obsessed with every moment. Hordes of paparazzi aggressively followed her every time she left her house and she seemed no longer able to handle it.
She attacked a cameraman’s car with an umbrella. She shaved her head in a salon. She lost custody of her children. When she refused to extradite her boys after a visit, she was hospitalized and locked in a mental hospital. The conservatory was built within a few days.
WHY DOES IT GO SO LONG?
A conservatory can always be dissolved by the court, although it is rare for a person to successfully apply for release. You have to prove your competence.
Conservatories can last for decades because few of the circumstances that lead to them are temporary. The mandatory secrecy of medical records has kept the reasons Britney Spears must stay with her in the dark, but it’s clear they are psychiatric issues. A recent file stated that she was unable to consent to medical treatment.
Why someone has to stay in a conservatory is usually not a mystery, even with the necessary secrecy, says Sarah Wentz, specialist lawyer for inheritance. “Courts don’t just impose these on people,” she says. You are most often in situations with dramatic events such as a traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. “
Spears’ father and his lawyers have emphasized that she is particularly vulnerable to people who want to take advantage of her money and fame. All sides agree, at least in theory, that if they can, they should be able to make their own decisions. “The threshold is not ‘Do I make stupid decisions?’ because we have the right to make stupid decisions in our lives, ”says Wentz. “Remember how many intelligent women make bad decisions. You can fall in love with someone and give them every penny you have. “
HOW DOES SPEARS FEEL ABOUT EVERYTHING?
Britney Spears never asked the court to end the conservatories. And in a recent lawsuit, she said it “saved her from breakdown, exploitation by predatory individuals, and financial ruin” and “enabled her to regain her position as a world-class entertainer.”
But she has asked for more say in who is running it, has emphasized that she reserves the right to end it at any time, and has welcomed the scrutiny of the #FreeBritney fans. She made it clear that she wanted to get her father out of the way entirely. Her attorney said at a recent hearing that she feared him and would not end her long career break while he was in control.
—Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press
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