The long saga of Britney Spears’ conservatorship just took another sad turn. The singer lost her court appeal to remove her father from overseeing her estate, reports the Associated Press.

On Tuesday, a judge in Los Angeles upheld Britney Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, in his role as the conservator of her estate and legal guardian, but said future motions to remove him from the role would be considered. At the singer’s request, financial company Bessemer Trust will be appointed as her co-conservator in the meantime.

Her father has been a co-conservator of her estate since she suffered a mental breakdown in 2008. He became the sole conservator last year after attorney Andrew Wallet resigned. Conservatorship is often granted for individuals who are unable to make their own decisions due to illness or mental deficiencies. Under the arrangement, her father and attorney have closely controlled the singer’s assets and movements, and have the ability to restrict her visitors and communicate with doctors about her treatment.

Jamie Spears' attorney Vivian Thoreen argued that he has always acted in the best interest of his daughter, and his role in her conservatorship has helped her come out of debt, claiming Britney Spears’ net worth has increased to $60 million.

Meanwhile, Spears' lawyer Samuel Ingham argued that the singer and her father have no "viable working relationship" and have not spoken in a "long while."

Ingham told the judge, "(Britney) has informed me that she is afraid of her father. She will not perform again if her father is in charge of her career." She has not performed live since 2018.

The singer’s mother, Lynne Spears, also weighed in, saying she believes it is in everyone’s best interests if Jaime steps down. In a statement from her lawyer, Lynne called the relationship between Britney and Jamie “toxic.” Her lawyer added, “It has broken Lynne’s heart to watch that this has come to this point. … Lynne believes the time is now to start fresh given the circumstance of Britney’s request.”

Another hearing is scheduled for Dec. 16.

The setback comes after the #FreeBritney movement continues to gain steam, led by a group of fans who believe the pop star is being held against her will. Just last week, the singer acknowledged the movement in an Instagram video, saying “So, I know that there have been a lot of comments and a lot of people saying a lot of different things about me, but I just want to let you guys know that I am fine. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life."

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