What Happens Next for Britney?

With Britney Spears still hospitalized on 72-hour hold, and her father now temporarily in control of her affairs, PEOPLE spoke with Terry K. Wasserman, a veteran L.A. attorney specializing in mental health cases, as to what will happen next. Wasserman is not involved in Spears’s case.

How much power exactly does Britney’s father have?
As temporary conservator, her father has widespread control for about four to six weeks over her finances and her basic medical care – but no authority over her psychiatric treatment. It’s clear the father had solid, clinical evidence as to why Ms. Spears cannot make decisions for herself at this time.

What say does her father have in her current hospitalization?
He can present information and express the family’s concern to Ms. Spears’s psychiatrist. But until her 72-hour hold expires sometime Sunday, only her doctor has authority to treat and/or release her. In addition, it would be very difficult at this time for the Spears family to move their daughter out of state for any reason.

Inside the Hospital
What happens after her 72-hold expires?

Her psychiatrist has three options: 1.) Release Ms. Spears to outpatient treatment at any time; 2.) Convince her to willingly stay hospitalized and monitored on a day-to-day basis; 3.) Request an additional 14-day involuntary hold, called a 5250.

Can’t she legally object to any of these involuntary holds?
Yes. During any of these holds, a patient-rights advocate and a court representative will interview Ms. Spears to find out if she objects to being held against her will. If she does, it will set in motion a series of court hearings.

Can Britney resist her father’s control?
Absolutely. Patients who object to their conservator are taken very seriously. As standard procedure, a court-appointed lawyer and a probate investigator will inform Ms. Spears of her rights, and report to the court whether she objects to her father as conservator. Attorneys on her behalf can show up in court as early as Monday to protest his appointment. A complex legal battle would ensue.

Back in Court
What can be expected at Monday’s court hearing?

Monday will be a progress review of Ms. Spears’s condition and her father’s conservatorship – but it’s highly unlikely the court will make him a permanent conservator anytime soon. By law, he was required to apply for permanent control as well. If the court grants him that, it would last indefinitely until she can clinically prove she’s capable of handling her own affairs. If Ms. Spears contests him on Monday, it’s possible a court-appointed conservator will replace the father.

A lawyer named Andrew Wallet was appointed as a co-temporary conservator of Britney. Who is he?
Mr. Wallet is a well-respected attorney in probate law. He may have been brought in by the father to show the court that a third party is involved, especially when it comes to managing her fortune.

Why didn’t her mom ask for conservatorship?
Generally, courts prefer that the conservator be a resident of California, which might explain why her mother did not petition.

Could Kevin Federline apply for conservatorship?
Normally, a husband would be preferred. But because of their divorce and ongoing custody battle, he would be dismissed by the court as having a conflict of interest. It’s very common that parents become conservators over their children; courts give them priority.

Source: People.com

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