Britney can't see kids after no-show at hearing

January 15, 2008 7:54:44 AM PST
Because she failed to show up to Monday's custody hearing, choosing instead to go out to lunch and church, Britney Spears remains unable to see her two sons. Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon decided to keep in effect an order suspending Spears' right to visit Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1. The boys will remain in the custody of Spears' ex-husband Kevin Federline.

Another hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 19.

A slew of people testified at Monday's family court hearing, many of whom saw Spears' bizarre Jan. 3 breakdown.

Court spokesman Allan Parachini said those who testified included two Los Angeles police officers; Paula Strong, the court-appointed monitor who was present for the visit at Spears' home; Lisa Hacker, a parenting coach who has been working with Spears and Federline; and Lonnie Jones, the bodyguard who went to the home to get the children Jan. 3.

According to celebrity news service, the witnesses "presented a deeply disturbed picture of Spears" that led the court commissioner to believe that mental health is the root of Spears' problems, not substance abuse.

Outside the courthouse after the hearing, Federline's attorney said that while his client felt the ruling was correct, he wants Spears to be a part of his sons' lives.

"The word victory is not something Mr. Federline or his counsel would ascribe to this. There is no joy. This is a grave situation for all," Mark Vincent Kaplan said, adding, "his goal, his hope for the future is at some point he will be able to parent the children with the participation of their mother."

Pressure's On to Play the Part of a Good Parent Spears hasn't had a good history of showing up to hearings in recent weeks. Dec. 12, she called in sick for a court-ordered deposition, then arrived nearly two hours late on its rescheduled date, Jan. 3.

Spears arrived more than three hours late to Monday's hearing. She briefly pulled up to the L.A. courthouse in a black sport utility vehicle and got out of the car, but never went inside. She drove off moments later surrounded by a swarm of paparazzi.

Now more than ever, pressure is on for Spears to own up to her parental responsibilities. Jan. 3, police were summoned to the pop star's home during a meltdown in which she refused to hand over Sean Preston and Jayden James to Federline's security guard and locked herself in a bathroom with one of the boys.

She surrendered custody after a three-hour-long standoff with cops and was subsequently taken by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where she stayed for two nights. Various reports allege Spears was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The day after the incident, Kaplan presented papers to Gordon, who awarded sole legal and physical custody of the boys to Federline and suspended Spears' visitation rights.

Since checking out of the hospital, Spears has been seen around Los Angeles with photographer and potential new boyfriend Adnan Ghalib. The two reportedly hit up West Hollywood's Westfield Mall for a shopping spree the day before her scheduled court hearing.