The last time Britney Spears was in court, ex-husband Kevin Federline's attorney petitioned the court to prevent the singer from driving with the couple's two children following a series of public driving mishaps. Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon reportedly granted that request on November 16 (the proceedings were sealed so his decision was not announced, though Us Weekly claimed confirmation) so Spears' lawyers were back in court Monday (November 26) for a regularly scheduled custody hearing where driving with the kids was not the first item of business.
The hearing began with a lawyer for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, Douglas Hunter, requesting that the agency be granted full access to all files in the custody case. An attorney for Spears said it was impractical to turn over all the files and suggested it might also be illegal to do so, worrying that an unedited version of such a document circulating through a "huge bureaucracy" could lead to leaks of all kinds of sensitive information. Federline's attorney requested that Hunter be more specific about which files he was interested in seeing.
Reporters were ejected from the proceeding less than 15 minutes after it began, but a briefing on the rest of the closed-door talks is expected Monday afternoon. Neither Spears nor Federline was on hand for the sessions.
Among the topics discussed at the closed session was a vacation schedule for the holidays, including talks about whether Spears will be allowed to take the kids to Palm Springs, California, or San Diego and if so, for how long. The day's final hourlong session ended with the court's public-information director, Allan Parachini, briefing reporters on the three rulings. As the case has been all along with the mostly closed proceedings, Parachini had little to offer in terms of specifics. He said one of the rulings discussed on Monday involved the DCFS request, but he would not comment on what the final determination was. He also mentioned that he could not comment at all on another ruling, but that an agreement was reached on the holiday schedule, though he could not provide any details on what it entailed.
Also unwilling to share many details of the rulings was Federline's lawyer, Mark Vincent Kaplan, although he did tell reporters after the proceeding, "Kevin feels it's absolutely appropriate that both [parents] see their kids on the holidays."
The next court date in the custody proceedings is slated for January 23, and it is not known if either Spears or Federline will attend.
Though no ruling was made on motions granting Spears the right to drive in her car with the children, Parachini did somewhat clarify the rumors regarding that issue. He told reporters that it has been mentioned in media accounts that Spears was either requested or ordered not to drive with her kids in the car, but that he was not at liberty to clarify which reports are accurate. Experts recently told MTV News that Spears' spate of unfortunate driving-related incidents — including running over the feet of two paparazzi and one police officer, running a red light and making an illegal U-turn with Jayden James and Sean Preston in the car — could cause a "huge problem" in her ongoing custody battle with Federline.
At an earlier emergency hearing, Kaplan said he might subpoena footage of Spears running a red light to show the court.
Spears is already awaiting a hearing for the misdemeanor offense of driving without a valid license, but after the last custody hearing November 8, she was photographed and videotaped running a red light and making an illegal left turn against oncoming traffic, with the children and the court monitor in the car.
UsMagazine.com reported Monday that a Van Nuys judge honored a request made by Spears attorney Michael Flanagan to postpone the singer's driving-without-a-valid-license case until January 2 so he can have time to collect more evidence. Flanagan also insisted that Spears should not be slapped with 24 months of probation for driving without a license, for which the Los Angeles city attorney has argued, according to the site. Although the city attorney is willing to reduce the term to 12 months, Flanagan reportedly said, "No misdemeanor violation is satisfactory to me." Flanagan reportedly told TMZ that he believes Britney's license case should not bring the kind of jail time meted out to Paris Hilton because the singer had a valid Louisiana license that went through 2010 that should have been sufficient to drive with in California.
While the courtroom developments were going on Monday, Spears was plotting to make her next music video, according to UsMagazine.com. The singer is reportedly planning to shoot a clip for "Piece of Me" with director Wayne Isham — who previously filmed her smash "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" — on Tuesday at the Hollywood Athletic Club. According to the site, Spears will be available to shoot from noon to 2 p.m., and she is due to shoot scenes in which she dances on top of a bar and runs down a flight of stars. A body double for the singer is also reportedly scheduled, as well as 15 extras.
[This story was originally published at 2:09 p.m. ET on 11.26.2007]