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Britney Spears 'strongly opposed' to father as her sole guardian

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Los Angeles (AFP)

After more than a decade living under a conservatorship that sees her father steer her personal and professional matters, Britney Spears is seeking to significantly alter the terms of the arrangement.

Since her infamous series of public meltdowns in 2008, the 38-year-old pop star has lived in California according to a court-approved legal guardianship largely governed by her father Jamie.

Many fans have marched and picketed on her behalf under the slogan #FreeBritney, believing that the artist who launched to global fame as a teenager is sending coded messages through her splashy Instagram account begging for help.

But Spears -- known for hits including "Toxic" and "...Baby One More Time" -- and her court-appointed lawyer have until now made little effort to alter the set-up.

On Tuesday, her attorney, Samuel Ingham, filed court papers to remove her father from the conservatorship's charge, instead naming Jodi Montgomery -- a licensed professional conservator -- as its permanent head.

Montgomery has been temporarily overseeing Spears' affairs for nearly a year, as the star's father struggled with health issues.

"We are now at a point where the conservatorship must be changed substantially in order to reflect the major changes in her current lifestyle and her stated wishes," Spears' attorney wrote in the documents filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

He said those changes include her current desire not to tour, having announced an "indefinite work hiatus" in January 2019.

At that time, she canceled her next scheduled concert residency, saying that she was going to focus on her father's health after his colon ruptured.

Ingham said Spears is "strongly opposed" to her father's return to overseeing her arrangement when Montgomery's tenure expires August 22.

"Without in any way waiving her right to seek termination of this conservatorship in the future, Britney would like Ms. Montgomery's appointment as conservator of her person to be made permanent," the lawyer wrote.

Ingham also said Spears "strongly prefers" to move control of her finances away from her father, instead appointing a "qualified corporate fiduciary."

The attorney wrote he anticipated "any effort to achieve my client's objectives as stated above will be aggressively contested by" her father.

Conservatorships are normally set up to protect the elderly and people who are very sick or mentally disabled.

A status hearing in Spears' case is scheduled for Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Earlier this month, Jamie Spears gave rare public comments about his guardianship of his daughter, calling #FreeBritney proponents "conspiracy theorists."

"It's up to the court of California to decide what's best for my daughter. It's no one else's business," he told The New York Post, also denying long-simmering rumors he was skimming off her fortune.

"I love my daughter," he continued. "I love all my kids. But this is our business. It's private."

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