With the news that Jamie Spears is willingly stepping down as his daughter Britney Spears’ conservator, fans and #FreeBritney supporters shared excited reactions all over the internet. Many claimed that she was finally free, but legally, that is not the case. As Spears’ father begins an “orderly transition” out of his role of 13 years, Spears is still very much under a conservatorship and it’s anyone’s guess what will happen next.
“Resignation or removal of a conservator does not terminate a conservatorship,” Syracuse Law professor Nina Kohn tells Rolling Stone. “That is a separate issue, and would require the court to order termination.”
As of press time, Spears and her new lawyer Mathew S. Rosengart have yet to officially file a petition to end the conservatorship. The last petition was merely to remove Jamie as her conservator, which followed a harrowing testimony from Spears earlier this summer claiming years of forced labor, false accusations of dementia, and constant surveillance.
As of right now, Jodi Montgomery has been serving as Spears’ personal conservator since 2019 and is in charge of her personal care and medical treatment. She was instated by the court when Jamie was temporarily removed from the conservatorship. As of July, Spears requested Montgomery stay on; Montgomery and Spears’ medical team also supported the pop star’s quest to remove Jamie entirely.
Lawyer Adam Streisand, who had been briefly retained as Spears’ lawyer early in her conservatorship, previously told Rolling Stone that it’s often difficult to terminate a conservatorship without a full medical evaluation proving that it is no longer needed. Kohn had added that Spears’ age works in her favor since many of the successfully terminated conservatorships have been for younger conservatees.
“The law is very clear that a conservatorship cannot be maintained except as a last resort,” Streisand added. “In other words, if there’s any less restrictive way in which to help or protect a person, a conservatorship has to be terminated or not imposed at all.” If the court does not see a need to terminate the conservatorship, Spears can also be placed in a less restrictive version of it in the future.
As for other legal matters relating to Spears’ case, she had previously noted that she would like to sue her family over the entire ordeal, specifically the abuse of her finances. It is unclear whether that is something she will pursue, and if she does, it’s unknown whether or not that will come before or after she begins the process of terminating the conservatorship.
“The key questions will be whether Jamie’s actions amounted to a breach of his duty to his daughter and whether she suffered damages as a result of that breach,” Kohn continues. “It is hard to assess the strength of Ms. Spears’ potential claim given that many of the details of the case that would be directly relevant to this question are not public.”
As of now, Spears has a September court date still looming as a result of her petition to remove Jamie as her conservator. It is yet to be seen whether or not she will file to terminate the conservatorship before then or if the court date will remain given Jamie’s resignation. But it is clear that Spears’ life is changing rapidly, hopefully with the ball remaining in her court.