Apparently the court is willing to bet that Britney Spears is already a little stronger than yesterday.
Two days after losing custody of her two sons to her ex-husband, a family court commissioner granted the troubled pop star monitored visitation rights with two-year-old Sean Preston and year-old Jayden James.
Federline's attorney, Mark Vincent Kaplan, said after Thursday's closed hearing that Spears, who was not present, will be allowed to visit with her boys every other day pursuant to the court's new order (view the full document), which included new behavioral guidelines stemming from Monday's hearing. Upon turning custody over to Federline, Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Scott M. Gordon ruled that Spears' erratic behavior was putting her children at risk.
K-Fed, tricked out in an eyepatch to protect a sore peeper from the sun's glare, was smiling as he exited the Los Angeles courthouse today.
Kaplan said that Spears' attorney, Sorrell Trope, argued heatedly for the Gordon to reverse his court order giving Federline custody. Trope did not speak to reporters afterward.
"As far as whether we won, or as far as Kevin's happy," Kaplan said, "I'll say we felt that the orders were justified and he was pleased with the orders that were in place."
Asked how the kids were doing, Kaplan said he didn't feel it was appropriate to elaborate but that the children are "good."
While Dad was in court, paparazzi spotted Mom making chauffeured stops at a gas station, a vitamin store and Starbucks, presumably to fuel up for all of the must-dos now crowding her to-do list.
Spears, 25, and Federline, 29, originally had equal time with the kids, but her ex petitioned for primary physical custody in August, barely a week after their divorce was finalized, citing the former pop princess' hard-partying ways and expressing concern for their children's well-being in her presence.
On Sept. 18, Gordon handed Spears some heavily detailed marching orders if she wanted to maintain her 50-50 custody split with Federline. Among the court's orders: random drug testing twice a week, parent counseling and refraining from consuming alcohol or nonprescription drugs at least 12 hours prior to being in the children's company.
Instead, Federline was awarded custody, starting Wednesday at noon, "until further order of the court."
Also today, Spears' former bodyguard, Tony Barretto, filed a child abuse referral with the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services and met with department officials for about two hours.
Federline's camp filed a sealed declaration from Barretto, in which Spears' ex-muscle stated that he witnessed his former employer taking drugs, drinking heavily and otherwise exhibiting behavior that wasn't suitable for children.
Spears has been ordered to appear at a hearing on Oct. 26, which casts doubt on an OK! magazine report that the multiplatinum-selling singer is headed back to rehab in Antigua this weekend. The tabloid has her rechecking into Eric Clapton's Crossroads Centre, one of Spears' two 24-hour treatment stops before she finally settled on a 28-day stay at Promises in Malibu back in February.
Meanwhile, Spears' nest is emptying fast. Her temporary houseguest, cousin and former assistant Alli Sims, moved out of the singer's Malibu home earlier Wednesday. Contrary to reports that there's bad blood between the two and that Sims' relocation to her own condo was a sudden decision, E! Online Senior Editor Marc Malkin was told that the move had been planned for some time.
It's definitely possible that things will look better in the morning. In addition to knowing that she'll be getting regular face time with her kids, Spears will again find herself at the top of the charts.
The 25-year-old's new single, "Gimme More," jumped from 68 to number three on the Billboard Hot 100 this week and has topped Hot Digital Songs, with 179,000 downloads. Her as-yet untitled new album is still slated for a Nov. 13 release.