Conservatorship for Britney Spears has done more harm than good

Written By Kumar Simms, Copy Editor

Whether or not Britney Spears needs a conservator is still up for debate. When it became evident that the pop star needed help in 2008, it was not hard to see why. Rehabilitation failed to yield results, and therapy alone would not suffice. A dramatic court intervention was necessary to save Britney Spears’ career, and potentially even her life. Jamie Spears, Britney’s father, is credited by Britney’s attorney for saving her life. Alongside attorney Andrew Wallet, Jamie gained legal responsibility for all of Britney’s actions after he was chosen as one of her court-ordered conservators.

Conservatorship, also known as guardianship in some states, is a drastic measure reserved only for people who lack the mental capacity to make sound decisions on their own. People with long-term difficulties, like Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, or people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries may benefit from it. The use of a conservator for an erratic young celebrity was unheard of before Britney Spears. To save her life, Britney’s parents took the painful step of asking a court to intervene. According to rumors in the press, Jamie is opposed to Britney getting married again due to the legal issues that would arise if she did. Britney is unable to marry without her father’s consent, and she will be unable to marry as long as the conservatorship is in effect.

Guardianship and conservatorship processes can save lives, but they can also go too far. These are last-resort remedies imposed by the courts because taking away someone’s freedom to choose where they live, spend their money, and marry should never be done unless absolutely necessary. Britney Spears said in court in June that her conservators had blocked her from getting married and having children. Three months later, not only has the pop singer undergone significant adjustments and is on the verge of having her conservatorship terminated, but she is also freshly engaged to her longtime boyfriend, actor Sam Asghari. However, all of this is dependent, according to legal experts, on whether she is allowed to leave her conservatorship. For now, Britney is not free to do as she pleases, including flying to Vegas and having a wedding.

The conservatee cannot come to any kind of accord of their own while under conservatorship. Accepting a proposal is one thing, but getting married is quite another. An engagement does not confer official rights, but her conservators must authorize a marriage license before it can be obtained. Britney cannot sign off on a marriage license while she is in conservatorship, according to Fox Rothschild, LLP partner Sarah Wentz, an attorney who specializes in conservatorships and estates. Wentz notes that rather than deciding on their own, a conservator would go to court and obtain an order instructing them to sign on her behalf. Considering recent developments in Spears’ case, the lawyer concludes, “Maybe the point is irrelevant if they dissolve the conservatorship.”

Even though Britney’s father has sought for the conservatorship to be terminated, her legal team has never petitioned the court to do so, and her lawyer, Mathew Rosengart has simply requested that her father be reprimanded and kicked out of office.

Regardless of her father’s reasons, Rosengart hailed the decision as a “major legal triumph” for the actress. The next hearing for Spears is scheduled for September 29. However, it’s anyone’s guess what the court will rule. If the conservatorship is terminated by the court, Britney should be free to marry without the need for approval from anybody else.

Ultimately, this conservatorship is doing more harm than good. Spears and Asghari made the news public over the weekend with a social media announcement. “I can’t f***ing believe it!!!!!” the singer said on Instagram on Sunday, with a flood of ring and heart emojis topping her gleeful caption on a video of her showing off her new engagement ring. On Monday, she updated her status to acknowledge the good news, adding that the proposal was “far late” and “absolutely worth the wait.” “It’s absurd,” she stated in a Facebook post on her devotion to Asghari.