Britney Spears has been in a conservatorship headed up by her father for so long now, we almost forgot how she ended up under his thumb in the first place.
But though the 30-year-old mother of two hasn't for some time now displayed any of the erratic behavior that allowed her parents to wrest control of her estate from her back in 2008, Britney hasn't made any apparent steps to regain legal control of her finances and her career.
Until now, perhaps. We asked legal experts to weigh in on whether fiancé Jason Trawick's recent petition to be added as a co-conservator means that the transfer of the reins back into Britney's hands has begun.
"It makes a lot of sense to me that [Britney's counsel] is requesting her fiancé to be appointed a co-conservator," L.A.-based attorney Allie Weinstein, whose past clients have included Lindsay Lohan and Brooke Mueller, tells E! News.
"It's only practical that your future spouse—who loves you, knows your daily routine, and has your best interests in mind—have authority to make personal decisions."
She explains that a conservatorship over an estate, which Jamie Spears has, is different from the personal conservatorship that Trawick is petitioning to be a part of.
"If Trawick is appointed co-conservator of Britney's person, he, together with Britney, will decide all of her personal decisions, including whether she can leave the state and enter into contracts," Weinstein says. "But because [his petition] does not request that he be appointed conservator of her estate, he will not have the authority to make decisions regarding her financial matters, like paying bills and collecting her income."
On the other hand, according to family law attorney Lisa Helfend Meyer, making Trawick a co-conservator would make for a big legal hassle if he and Britney were ever to split up, seeing as how Jamie and Britney's attorney would have to go to court to terminate his co-conservator status.
But at the same time, she notes, the fact that Britney's lawyer, Samuel Ingraham, is on board with the idea is a pretty good indicator that all is well in Spearsland. Trawick popped the question in December, making Britney sound (at least via Twitter) the happiest she'd been in a long time.
"If it wasn't stable, the relationship and her mental health, I don't think anyone would be doing this," Meyers says. "This is probably the first step towards eventually getting rid of the conservatorship. You want to see them get married and maintain stability and things are going well. Maybe someone is counseling them, saying do things in baby steps."
Either way, Meyers says, she speculates that this could very well be a point of transition for Britney, one that brings her closer to regaining legal responsibility for her life and money.
"There's been no incidents that at least the public is aware of in a few years, so why does she still need a conservatorship?" Meyer questions. "I see her in public and she seems better than a majority of the parents out there— what does she need a conservator for?"
Well, sounds as if Britney's got a character witness if she ever needs one!