Britney Spears and Child Custody

Britney Spears is a 37-year old American singer, songwriter, dancer and actress.  She began her career as a child actress.  At the age of 11, she joined the cast of The Mickey Mouse Club along with Keri Russell, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling.

She became a “pop princess” at the age of 18 in 2000, and her public persona took on a much-more adult theme.  She had many hits with suggestive titles including “…Baby One More Time” and “Oops!...I Did It Again.”  She continued her icon-status, but in the mid-2000s, her behavior became very erratic.  In January of 2004, for instance, she married her a high school friend in Las Vegas.  The marriage was annulled 55 hours later.

In July of 2004, she became engaged to one of her back-up dancers, Kevin Federline.  She met him three months before the engagement.  They married in September of 2004, but was not official until October 6, after finalizing their pre-nuptial agreement.  The marriage was scandalous because Federline’s girlfriend Shar Jackson was pregnant with his child. In September of 2005, the couple’s first son was born, and in September of 2006, their second son was born.  Two months later, Spears filed for divorce in Los Angeles citing irreconcilable differences.

Kevin Federline is a 41-year old rapper, who performed professionally as K-Fed.  He began his career as one of Spears’s back up dancers in 2004, but expanded his career to become a rapper, professional wrestler, and fashion model.  He is most well-known for his two-year marriage to Spears and their subsequent custody and child support battles.  In 2007, their divorce was settled with joint physical custody and child support to Federline for the boys’ care.

In 2005, Spears’s erratic behavior included her baby son.  She was driving a car with the child on her lap; holding the child with one hand and steering the vehicle with the other.  Spears blamed the incident on the paparazzi and said it was a mistake.  However, her behavior continued to spiral out of control.  In 2007, she spent one day in a rehab center in Antigua, and the next day she was videoed in a hair salon in Tarzana, California shaving her head.  Later that year, she lost physical custody of the boys to Federline, but the court order did not specify a reason for the change.

In 2008, Spears was put under a temporary – and then permanent – conservatorship of her father.  This gave her father Jamie Spears (and an attorney) complete control of all Spears’s assets.

She remains under conservatorship to this day.  However, she was able to stabilize her mental health issues, and physical custody was modified to 50/50.

Now, according to TMZ and other news outlets, Spears’s mental health issues have resurfaced and her current medication is no longer effective.

On August 28, 2019, Spears and Federline agreed to new child custody arrangements.  The boys are now 13 and 12 years of age, and they will live with Federline 70 percent of the time, and with Spears.

In California, the number one issue is always what is in the best interests of the child.  The court will assume, unless shown otherwise, that both parents are equally capable of raising their child and that the custody will be split 50/50.  However, if shown that one parent is not capable of equally raising the child, either physically or mentally, then the court will grant a different custody arrangement.  The court will always take into account what is in the best interests of the child.

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