Britney Spears must hand over custody of her sons to Kevin Federline this week "until further notice of the court," a judge ruled Monday after a closed-door hearing.
The judge gave no reasons in his written decision, issued after lawyers met with him in chambers in a session requested by Federline's lawyer. The ruling says that Federline gets custody starting Wednesday.
But the ruling came after the filing of misdemeanor charges against Spears – hit-and-run and driving without a valid license – and claims by her ex-bodyguard that she used drugs and is a danger to her children, Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1.
A judge also found that Spears is a "habitual, frequent and continuous" user of alcohol and controlled substances, and ordered her to submit to random twice-weekly testing.
The singer, who has 50-50 custody with Federline, was seen around town with her children over the weekend, and on Sunday they had an early dinner at Taverna Tony in Malibu, as a crush of paparazzi camped outside.
"She seemed fine," the restaurant's owner, Tony Koursaris, says. "She was very comfortable having dinner here with her boys. ... The kids had a good time. Then we had to fight the paparazzi, of course."
The photographers, however, did come in handy for Spears at one point over the weekend. Around midnight Saturday, her Mercedes ran out of gas during a supermarket run. The photographers went to the gas station and helped Spears tank up her vehicle.
A court has ordered pop singer Britney Spears to give up custody of her children effective Wednesday at noon. Spears' former husband, Kevin Federline, is to retain custody of their two sons "until further order of the court," according to a ruling by Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon. It was not clear what led to Monday's decision awarding Federline full custody. A transcript of the court proceedings was ordered sealed.
Last month, a judge ordered Spears, 25, to submit to random drug tests after finding she engaged in "habitual, frequent, and continuous use of controlled substances and alcohol."
That order, also by Gordon, provided no details and did not name any drugs. The former couple has been embroiled in a bitter custody fight over their sons, Sean Preston and Jayden. The parents had split custody 50-50, but Federline then asked for the arrangements to be shifted to 70-30 in his favor.
In addition to ordering the twice-weekly drug tests, Gordon ordered Spears to spend eight hours per week working with a "parenting coach," who was to observe her interactions with her children. Gordon also told both parents to avoid alcohol or "other non-prescription controlled substances" 12 hours before taking custody of the children.
He also barred the exes from making "derogatory remarks about the other party and the other party's family or significant other" during the case. And he ordered the parents to go through "joint co-parenting counseling" and barred them from using corporal punishment on the boys. Spears and Federline were married for two years before their divorce became final in July.
Monday's order comes amid a career freefall for Spears, whose new album is due to be released November 13. After her September 9 "comeback" performance on the MTV Video Music Awards, critics derided her singing and dancing as lackluster and said she appeared overweight in her sequined two-piece costume. Her former divorce lawyer, Laura Wasser, resigned last month as her legal representative after telling reporters the singer "just wants to be a mom."
Spears' management company, the Firm, recently quit after representing the singer for little over a month.
OK! Magazine is reporting the story as well: "By order of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, she is to turn the boys over to ex-hubby Kevin Federline this Wednesday, at which point Sean Preston, 2, and 1-year-old Jayden James Federline will remain with their father until further notice.
This decision effectively reverses the court's earlier decision for Brit and K-Fed to share the boys for the duration of the custody hearing.
It's still not known what the underlying cause of the order is, but it could be Brit's driving without a valid California driver's license; or perhaps the singer failed a court-ordered drug test."
The ruling says:
"Respondent's oral motion pursuant to section 214FC is granted and the matter proceeds as a closed hearing. The court and all parties present confer on the record that the court makes its order as fully reflected in the notes of the official court reporter. The court's prior order including the orders made on September 28, 2007 remain in full force and effect with the following modification: Respondent is to retain physical custody of the minor children on Wednesday October 3rd, 2007 at 12 PM until further order of the Court. Repondent's ex-parte application is noticed for October 3, 2007 at 1:30 PM in Department 88."
- My thoughts and prayers are with Britney and her boys right now.