Britney Spears' dad retains control of her affairs

Britney Spears poses backstage with her three awards for best pop video, video of the year and best female video for "Piece of Me" at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles September 7, 2008. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The father of Britney Spears will retain control over the once-troubled singer’s personal and business affairs for an indefinite period, a Los Angeles judge ruled on Tuesday.

Jamie Spears and a Los Angeles lawyer were first granted temporary control of Spears’ affairs in February after the pop princess was twice hospitalized for psychiatric evaluation.

The conservatorship previously was extended until December 31 but, in Tuesday’s closed-court hearing, the judge made it permanent. Spears can request it to be lifted at a later date.

“The conservatorship is necessary and appropriate for the complexity of financial and business entities and her being susceptible to undue influence,” said the judge, Reva Goetz, according to several media reports.

Since February, Spears, 26, has turned around her life, reaching a custody settlement with ex-husband Kevin Federline, releasing a hit single “Womanizer,” working on a new album, winning three MTV Video Music Awards and preparing for an expected first world tour since 2004.

Celebrity website said Spears’ lawyers suggested making the conservatorship permanent. Quoting unnamed sources close to Spears, TMZ said lawyers felt doing so would boost the singer’s chances of regaining custody of sons Sean Preston, 3, and Jayden James, 2 in the future.

People magazine quoted Spears’ lawyer as saying in an open courtroom that Spears “requested that I not object to the permanent conservatorship.”

Spears, one of the best-selling artists of the last decade, has been on the mend this year after making headlines for much of 2006 and 2007 for shaving her head, going to a rehabilitation center, partying without underwear and wearing a pink wig.

Last week, Spears escaped a criminal conviction for driving without a California license in 2007 after a Los Angeles jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of an acquittal. A guilty verdict would have given Spears a criminal record.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and John O’Callaghan