A judge has ordered pop singer Britney Spears to give up physical custody of her two children, ending a long and very public legal battle with her ex-husband, rapper/dancer Kevin Federline.
Los Angeles County Court Commissioner Scott M. Gordon ruled on October 1 that Federline, 29, “is to retain physical custody of the minor children on Wednesday… at 12 p.m., until further order of the court,” the court papers say.
Two weeks ago, the same judge had ordered Spears, 25, to undergo random drug testing twice a week, to see a weekly parenting coach, and to complete a court-run class called “Parenting without Conflict” with Federline. Judge Gordon had cited Spears’ lifestyle, in which “there is habitual, frequent, and continuous use of controlled substances and alcohol”, in the decision. Their divorce became official in late July.
The ex-spouses had been sharing 50-50 child custody of two-year-old Sean Preston and one-year-old Jayden James, but Federline was seeking a 70-30 split in his favor in order to keep the boys “isolated from risks”, according to Reuters. While Britney is losing physical custody of the children, she and K-Fed still have joint legal custody.
It’s the latest incident in a long, tough year for Britney, which has included a divorce, a public breakdown, a stay in a rehab center, a universally panned comeback attempt at the MTV Video Music Awards, and even a death threat from a terrorist leader. Her management company, The Firm, dropped her on September 18. And her legal troubles escalated on September 21, when she was charged with driving without a valid license and leaving the scene of an accident after allegedly running into a parked car in August. According to officials from the Department of Motor Vehicles, Spears had applied for a driver’s license but never completed the process. She could face up to a year in jail.
The recent driving charges may have influenced this week’s child-custody order. “She was driving without a license with a child in the car,” New York divorce attorney Raoul Felder told the Associated Press. “You can put aside the in-and-out-of-rehab… But this? When a judge went out on a limb for her? There’s no going back.”
Spears’ next studio album — her first in four years — is due for release next month. Her current single, “Gimme More”, is the most downloaded song at Apple’s iTunes online store at the moment.
For a Dallas divorce lawyer’s tips for divorcing parents, click here.
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