Court Monitor Controls Brit's Access to Kids

Britney Spears can see her kids, but she'd better behave while doing so.

In a court order issued Thursday, Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Scott M. Gordon said Spears can visit her two sons, 2-year-old Sean Preston and 1-year-old Jayden James, every other day, The Associated Press reported. A monitor must watch Spears and will be allowed to cut her visits short if "any behavior or action by Spears endangers the children."

Gordon said monitoring was necessary because Spears has not been in "substantial compliance" with a previous court order, according to the AP.

Monday, Gordon ordered Spears to surrender custody of her sons to her ex-husband Kevin Federline until further order of the court. He retained custody of the children after a follow-up hearing Wednesday.

Outside the courthouse, Federline's attorney, Mark Vincent Kaplan, voiced his support of Gordon's decision, telling reporters, "Kevin wants to maintain the custody that he has as long as he can."

While Federline attended Wednesday's hearing, Spears hit the town, according to entertainment news show "Extra."

"Extra" reported that Spears visited a Los Angeles gas station, vitamin store and Starbucks. She had a driver take her around and brought her Yorkie, London, along for the ride. She smiled at the paparazzi and seemed to be in a good mood.

Another hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 26. Though Spears was not present at Wednesday's hearing — neither she nor Federline were required to be in court — according to the AP, both will have to appear Oct. 26.

Wake-Up Call

Lawyers agree that the court is trying to give Spears a wake-up call by taking away her children.

"This is a little shock treatment for Britney to get the treatment that she needs," attorney Gloria Allred, who represents Spears' former bodyguard, said on "Good Morning America" Tuesday.

According to Beverly Hills family law attorney Daniel Jaffe, the court has probably lost faith in Spears' ability to be a fit parent.

"The court must have felt that the kids are in danger with her," Jaffe said. "This would be an unusual order, but, as you can see in the tabloids, she hasn't been behaving properly."

"It sounds like the judge has basically given up on her, because she hasn't been complying with court orders," he added.

Gordon's decision to let Federline retain custody is the latest development in the ongoing battle between Spears, 25, and Federline, 29, over the well-being of their children. In September, he ordered Spears to meet with a parenting coach who was supposed to observe and report back to the court about her fitness as a parent. He said that both she and Federline had to complete the court's Parenting Without Conflict class.

Gordon also ordered Spears to undergo random drug and alcohol testing twice a week, because she was engaging in "habitual, frequent and continuous use of controlled substances and alcohol," according to the AP.

Jaffe speculated that a custody evaluator will soon be appointed to assess whether Spears or Federline will be a better parent for the kids. It could take months before a final decision is made.

"That's a long process," Jaffe said. "Probably three to six months to get a full psychological report, at which time the psychological evaluator will tell the judge who is a more fit parent."

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