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Is it time to #FreeBritney?

  • By:Neil Lyons

There’s been an update in the Britney Spears saga.

It seems the nation is once again becoming captivated by the legendary pop diva’s personal life and her ongoing legal quandary.

Britney has been in the public eye for months

I previously discussed her guardianship (called conservatorship in California) and some of the circumstances surrounding her father’s acquisition of legal control over her property over a decade ago. 

In case you do not recall, I am not the least bit interested in Britney Spears’ music. I listen to death metal. People who listen to death metal typically DO NOT listen to Britney Spears’ music.

Now, with that out of the way, there is no denying that the saga of Britney’s guardianship has captivated fans and legal professionals (me) alike. 

Her assets have essentially been under the control of her father since 2008. This legal arrangement is a conservatorship. It is usually reserved for the elderly and anyone who has experienced a chronic loss of capacity.

In February 2021, she was at the center of “Framing Britney Spears,” a Hulu documentary that had many abuzz about the pop star.

Shocking news came to light this month

An update to the case has shocked quite a few observers of her ongoing legal saga. 

On Wednesday, June 23, 2021, she addressed the Court which has jurisdiction over her guardianship. Her statements, if true, reveal an appalling abuse of the 39-year-old’s liberty: 

“I want to be able to get married and have a baby. I was told right now in the conservatorship, I’m not able to get married or have a baby, I have an (IUD) inside of myself right now so I don’t get pregnant. I wanted to take the (IUD) out so I could start trying to have another baby. But this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have children — any more children.”

Take a step back and think about what this statement reveals. Britney Spears was legally forced to get a device that prevents her from having children. 

Intrauterine devices, otherwise known as IUDs, prevent 99% of pregnancies, which is about the same rate as sterilization.   

How these rights are regarded in Florida

The removal of marriage rights is not all that uncommon in guardianship (at least in Florida). 

However, consenting to sterilization procedures requires a rigorous evidentiary process and specific authority from a court before such procedures can be performed (See Fla. Stat. sec. 744.3215(4)(e), and sec. 744.3725). 

I am unsure of the events that led to this measure, but I doubt I agree with any excuse to force a woman in her thirties to wear a device that prevents pregnancy. 

This latest revelation will do little to quell the growing public demands for an end to Britney’s conservatorship. If anything, it seriously calls into question the ongoing need for the guardianship to continue. Hopefully it will also pave the way to a restoration of her rights. 

These developments, if true, may have pushed me over the edge into joining the #FreeBritney movement. Stay tuned for more updates in the ongoing saga of the Britney Spears conservatorship.  

Attorney Neil T. Lyons pursued a career in law for the sole purpose of helping people. His practice focuses on the area of elder law, including estate planning, trust and probate administration and guardianship. His early legal experience solidified his commitment to assisting, whenever possible, two very vulnerable groups: children and the elderly. He receives repeated recognition by various organizations for his pro bono efforts in Manatee and Sarasota counties. Neil also consistently engages in service to the legal community and joined the Luhrsen Goldberg staff in 2019. 

Posted in: Elder Law, Guardianship