The scene outside the courthouse made it clear Tuesday was a "Britney Spears" day. Paparazzi lined the sidewalk and an estimated 40 reporters were signed up to gain entry to the tiny courtroom.
Eyewitness News observed a quite 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 them in and asked her to identify herself. "Britney," the pop star replied. Gordon then asked for a last name, and Britney finally said "Spears."
Because this is a family law matter involving children, Spears attorney Stacy Phillips asked that the hearing be closed, and reporters were cleared from the courtroom.
One hint of how things were going in the hearing came as Spears left the courtroom for a brief break. She was observed by many reporters to have slightly red eyes, perhaps as if she had been crying.
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, but during the evenings.
It's been three months since Spears left a psychiatric ward a week ahead of schedule and stirred up a paparazzi car chase, a scene that looked like the beginning of even more erratic behavior. But in the weeks that followed, she lay low and largely avoided the cameras, spent time with family members and even found success in a cameo appearance on "How I Met Your Mother."
During that time, the 26-year-old pop star has been under the conservatorship of her father. The court-ordered arrangement put James Spears in control of his daughter's personal and financial affairs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.