Britney Spears: A Case Of Disability Rights

It has been a difficult 13 years for pop singer Britney Spears. In early 2008, after a high-profile divorce and subsequent custody battle, along with erratic public behaviour and two involuntary psychiatric holds, Spears’ father Jamie petitioned the court for an emergency temporary conservatorship. Courts will grant a conservatorship for individuals when they are deemed to be unable to make their own decisions due to mental illnesses. However, this legal agreement---which prevented Spears from controlling her own estate, financial affairs, and many aspects of her personal life---became permanent later that year.

Spears did not publicly comment on the situation for a decade, but gradually reports began to appear in the media that she was deeply unhappy. Although a conservatorship is put into place to protect vulnerable individuals from harm, Spears claims that her father has used the conservatorship as “an oppressive and controlling tool against her.”

In 2021, several documentaries were released that indicated how much Spears had been suffering under this legal arrangement. Allegations were made that not only had Jamie Spears been taking advantage of his daughter’s finances but also that he controlled nearly every aspect of her personal life, from forcing her to perform when sick, to keeping her under surveillance, cutting her off from her friends, and requiring any men that she befriended to sign non-disclosure agreements. Court documents show Spears had been asking the court for years to remove her father from conservatorship, claiming he abused his power.

On Wednesday, September 29, 2021, a judge approved Spears’ request to suspend her father’s role as her conservator. This comes on the heels of her father’s August petition to dissolve the conservatorship. On November 12, a hearing will take place to review the suspension and the petition to end the conservatorship.

For disability advocates like attorney Haley Moss, these recent events have been significant and positive. In an editorial on NBC.com, Moss explains how conservatorships and guardianships cause people to “lose a wide variety of their civil rights” and details how it can be “incredibly difficult” to get released from them. Moss laments that “disabled people’s desires are often ignored because courts have declared them incompetent to make their own decisions and almost always assume the guardians know the disabled people’s needs better.”

Moss finds it “encouraging” that public discussion of this flawed system is important, but emphasizes that “self-advocacy” is even more important, arguing that disabled people should be able to communicate their own “needs, wants, and desires.” While seeking mental health treatment was the right thing for Britney Spears to do, Moss argues that “losing her civil rights didn’t have to happen, nor should it continue to happen to people with disabilities.”People with disabilities have enough challenges navigating treatment; they should not also be prevented from accessing education about their own rights. If you are dealing with a disability, whether it is for mental health reasons or not, you have the right to be treated with compassion. If you are struggling with a disability and you have had a long-term disability benefits claim denied by your insurance company, you deserve to be heard and you should fight for your rights. Call Share Lawyers and we will help you get the long-term disability benefits you deserve. The disability lawyers at our disability law firm have the experience to help you get the benefits that you need. We offer a free consultation so that you can find out your options.

If you have had your claim for long-term disability denied, contact the long-term disability insurance lawyers at Share Lawyers. Our experienced team of long-term disability (LTD) lawyers can help. We have recently settled cases against Canada Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and many more. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless we win your case. Find out if you have a disability case.

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