Britney conservatorship: why does pop star's father have control of her finances - and who is Jodi Montgomery?

The pop superstar is petitioning for Jodi Montgomery to permanently take over as her conservator in place of her father

The next court hearing to discuss the singer's conservatorship is set for April (Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

A lawyer representing Britney Spears has told a judge that the singer has requested that she speak directly about her conservatorship in court.

Samuel D Ingham III said: “My client has requested a hearing at which she can address the court directly.”

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He added that Spears had “ask that it be done on an expedited basis”. The judge set a hearing date for 23 June.

So far, it is unclear whether Spears will appear in person and what she will say if she does – previously she indicated, via lawyers, that she no longer wished for her father, Jamie Spears, to be in control of her personal affairs.

What has Britney Spears said?

In March, Spears previously petitioned for her father to be permanently removed from overseeing her personal affairs.

Jodi Montogomery, a care professional, stepped in to replace Spears’ father on what was supposed to be a temporary basis - however, at the most recent hearing into her conservatorship, Speakers’ lawyer, Samuel D Ingham III, told an LA judge that he would file a petition to make Montogromerys position permanent.

The papers, which have now been filed, state: “Petitioner expressly reserves the right to petition for termination of this conservatorship under Probate Code section 1861.

“Nothing in the within petition shall be deemed to constitute a waiver of that right.”

The documents also revealed the day to day duties Montogmery would have to undertake as conservator.

These responsibilities include the power to “restrict and limit” visitors, apart from Inham, Spears’ lawyer, the ability to retain “caretakers and security guards” for the singer, and powers to prosecute civil harassment retraining orders on Spears’ behalf.

Montgomery will also be able to speak with medical professionals about Spears, and also have access to her medical records.

In an earlier hearing, Spears’ lawyer told the court that the singer feared her father, and that she would not return to work whilst he remained in charge of her personal life.

The next hearing in Spears’ care is due to take place in April.

Who is Jodi Montgomery?

Montogmery is a California-licenced professional fiduciary, and is formally trained in social work, according to her website.

She is “strongly committed to meeting the particular needs of conservatees and special needs trust beneficiaries - and protecting them from all forms of physical and financial abuse”.

She has also served as a counselor with AIDS Centres Pasadena and as a service volunteer with the Special Olympics.

Prior to stepping in as Spears’ temporary conservator, Montgomery worked as her care manager.

What is conservatorship?

Conservatorship is a legal concept in America, wherein a guardian or protector is appointed to someone if a court finds that they cannot manage their own affairs.

There are many reasons why a court might invoke conservatorship. It could be due to old age, being a minor, or if the person in question suffers from a serious mental illness.

The role of the conservator can vary, but usually they handle their conservatee’s estate and finances, as well as also possibly being responsible for their career negotiations, health care or living arrangements.

Why does Britney Spears have a conservator?

Many will remember that, in the late 2000s, Spears underwent a very public breakdown. As well as her infamous head shaving incident, she was also seen driving with her son on her lap, hitting a photographer’s car with an umbrella, and went through a phase of speaking with a faux British accent.

In 2008, she was committed to a psychiatric ward twice. After the second hold, her father, Jamie Spears, petitioned the LA County Superior Court for an emergency ‘temporary conservatorship.’ This arrangement was made permanent by the end of that year.

Her father was appointed to oversee Spears’ estate and physical wellbeing, while LA attorney Andrew Wallet was brought on as a co-conservator to also help manage the singer’s financial assets.