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More visitation rights for Spears

May 6, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Britney Spears was granted expanded visitation rights with her two sons in a closed-door child-custody hearing in Los Angeles.The decision came after the pop star convinced the court she was making progress. The hearing ended just before lunch.

Click in the Eyewitness News story window above to watch Miriam Hernadez's report from the courthouse.

Eyewitness News observed a quiet and composed Spears in the hallway before the hearing. She arrived at court with her parents and attorneys wearing a brown polka-dot dress and white sweater.

Once Spears was inside the courtroom, Commissioner Scott Gordon swore her in and asked the pop star to identify herself. "Britney," she replied. Gordon then asked for a last name, and Britney finally added "Spears."

Spears came to ask for more time with her children, or perhaps visitation or partial custody. Her position has always been that she would do better mentally and emotionally if she were able to keep her children for visits overnight. She's been able to spend time with 2-year-old Sean Preston and 1-year-old Jayden James during the day.

Spears has been on her best behavior for months. It paid off Tuesday as she and her ex-husband, Kevin Federline appeared before a family law commissioner.

Spears was given more visitation time with her son. Full custody, however, remains with Federline.

"It represents a step going forward, a cautious step but a step none the less," said Mark Vincent Kaplan, lawyer for Spears' ex-husband Kevin Federline.

Court spokesman Allan Parachini read a statement from Spears' parents Jamie and Lynne Spears saying they "are so pleased with Britney's progress and we are very appreciative of the court's recognition of this progress."

Spears and her entourage departed Superior Court with an LAPD escort to keep paparrazi from pursuing. The usual frenzy did not happen.

Since last October Spears has had troubles even getting to the courtroom, deciding at the last moment just to go home.

Then came the publicized meltdown at her home, two visits to a UCLA psychiatric ward and several scenes where swarms of photographers chased her through the streets of Los Angeles.

The court then appointed her father, James Spears, as her conservator and everything changed.

The pop star has been relatively invisible to photographers, only occasionally snapped shopping or having dinner with her mother, Lynne.

Kaplan said one of the major changes is that "there are not daily events" to undermine the situation, and that he expected to see further progress from Spears.

Federline spokesman Elliot Mintz read a statement. "Kevin is extremely pleased with the way things went today," Mintz said, adding that Federline hopes that eventually the boys will be raised "in the company of two people who love them."

A progress report hearing is scheduled July 15, Parachini said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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