The trials and tribulations of Britney Spears

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image kabc"><span>KABC</span></div><span class="caption-text">Britney Spears arrives at an online gaming tournament hosted by Guy Oseary. (Chris Weeks)</span></div>
February 29, 2008 8:54:21 AM PST
It's not Starbucks, the Roxy or Gymboree. The one place Britney Spears (or at least people representing Spears) has frequented more than any other in the past year and half is ? court. Since filing for divorce from ex-husband Kevin Federline, Spears has muddled herself in a multitude of legal messes, from minor infractions (running over a paparazzi's foot) to major mess-ups (refusing to give up custody of her sons to Federline). Below, a timeline of Spears' trials and tribulations:

Nov. 7, 2006: After little more than two years of marriage, Spears files for divorce from Federline, citing irreconcilable differences. She asks for sole custody of their sons, Sean Preston and Jayden James, allowing Federline visitation rights. Attorney Laura Wasser is hired to represent Spears in the case.

Nov. 8, 2006: Federline retaliates, filing for sole custody of the boys, allowing Spears visitation rights. He also asks the court that Spears assume both their legal costs, since she initiated the proceedings.

March 29, 2007: After shaving her head and making two quick visits to rehab, Spears and Federline reach a settlement "on all issues of their marriage and child custody," which allows them to equal custody of Sean Preston and Jayden James.

July 26, 2007: Spears violates the terms of the custody agreement by taking the boys out of state on a jaunt to Las Vegas. Her bodyguard, Cesar Julio Camera, gets into a fight with a photographer outside the Wynn Las Vegas, and is later charged with battery.

July 30, 2007: Spears and Federline's divorce is made official.

Aug. 2, 2007: Still, legal drama continues when Federline's team sets out to serve subpoenas to people close to Spears, including her assistant, Alli Sims. Spears' on-again, off-again manager, Larry Rudolf, reportedly goes into hiding to avoid being subpoenaed. Weeks later, a process server for Federline's lawyer, Mark Vincent Kaplan, has his car rammed by Spears friend Sam Lutfi when he tries to serve Lutfi with a subpoena.

Sept. 17, 2007: Days after her disastrous performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, Spears is ordered by a Los Angeles judge to undergo random drug testing, because of her "habitual, frequent and continuous use" of drugs and alcohol, according to court documents. The judge also orders Spears to attend counseling, and Spears and Federline to enroll in parenting classes. Spears' ex-bodyguard, Tony Barretto, files a declaration to the court on "issues of nudity by Ms. Spears, drug use and safety issues involving the children post-rehab." Spears drops attorney Laura Wasser for Marci Levine.

Sept. 18, 2007: Spears switches lawyers again, hiring Anne Kiley.

Sept. 21, 2007: Spears is charged with two misdemeanor counts of hit and run driving that caused property damage and driving without a valid license. The charges came from an Aug. 6 incident in which she hit a parked car and fled the scene, even though paparazzi filmed and photographed the whole episode. Despite the charges, Spears continues to drive with her kids in tow.

Oct. 1, 2007: A Los Angeles judge grants full custody of Sean Preston and Jayden James to Federline and orders Spears to turn the kids over to her ex within two days.

Oct. 3, 2007: Realizing she must make moves to regain custody of her kids, Spears goes to a California DMV, applies for and gets a temporary driver's license. She brings Lutfi with her, causing some to wonder whether he's acting as her manager/handler.

Oct. 4, 2007: Despite her efforts, a Los Angeles judge rules Federline will retain custody of the children. Spears gets regular, supervised visits with them. Meanwhile, ex-Spears bodyguard Barretto files child-abuse claims against her and meets with authorities at the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, which then launches an investigation based on his claims.

Oct. 11, 2007: After one week of random drug tests comes up clean, a Los Angeles superior court commission grants Spears one monitored overnight visit each week with her sons.

Oct. 16, 2007: Spears goes to a Los Angeles police station to be fingerprinted, photographed and booked on two minor traffic charges.

Oct. 18, 2007: Claiming she failed to follow court orders handed down the previous month, Federline's lawyers request that Spears' visitation rights be suspended. Their request is granted.

Oct. 19, 2007: While attempting to get through the crush of paparazzi in front of her Beverly Hills doctor's office, Spears runs over the foot of a photographer. She later settles her case with the owner of the car she ran into in August.

Oct. 21, 2007: Spears wins back visitation rights with her children and starts going to co-parenting counseling sessions with Federline.

Oct. 23, 2007: Spears' parenting coach, Lisa Hacker, submits a report to Los Angeles Superior Court saying the pop star ignored her presence and that she wasn't able to get through to the pop star. The report also suggests Spears ignores her children and doesn't play with them.

Oct. 30, 2007: Following the report, a judge rules Spears will not regain custody of Sean Preston and Jayden James.

Nov. 6, 2007: Federline gets $120,000 from Spears to help pay for legal bills incurred from their child-custody battle.

Nov. 7, 2007: At an emergency court hearing, Mark Vincent Kaplan, Federline's attorney, claims Spears has not been complying with drug-testing orders.

Nov. 8, 2007: At a follow-up hearing, Spears is accused of only responding to calls for six of the 14 drug tests she was ordered by the court to take.

Nov. 9, 2007: Paparazzo captures Spears running a red light and allegedly making an illegal turn with Sean Preston and Jayden James in the back seat of her car.

Nov. 26, 2007: The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services requests access to all the files in the couple's custody case, but Spears' attorney calls the request impractical.

Dec. 5, 2007: L.A. Department of Children and Family Services child-welfare investigators launch probe into claims of "multiple child abuse and neglect" against Spears.

Dec. 12, 2007: Spears skips a deposition in her child-custody case the same day her 16-year-old sister, Jamie-Lynn, announces she's pregnant. Federline's lawyer seeks a court sanction against her for failing to show.

Jan. 2, 2008: Spears' lawyers filed a motion requesting permission from the Los Angeles Superior Court to withdraw themselves from her custody battle, citing "a breakdown in communications." The same day, Spears missed another scheduled deposition.

Jan. 3, 2008: Spears finally shows up, albeit late, for her deposition but leaves after 15 minutes. Meanwhile, Spears' lawyers set a trial date in her misdemeanor driving case stemming from her August hit and run. Later that day, Spears gets into a standoff with cops at her home when she refuses to hand over her sons to Federline. Hysterical, she's rushed to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Jan. 4, 2008: At an emergency hearing, a judge gives sole custody of Sean Preston and Jayden James to Federline.

Jan. 5, 2008: Spears is unexpectedly released from the hospital early after TV shrink Dr. Phil pays her a visit.

Jan. 8, 2008: Police impound Spears' car after finding it abandoned on the street.

Jan. 12, 2008: Federline's lawyers asks the LAPD to release its report on what happened at Spears' home during the Jan. 3 incident.

Jan. 14, 2008: After multiple testimonies from LAPD officers, Spears' parenting coach and bodyguard Lonnie Jones, a judge keeps in effect an order suspending Spears' right to visit her sons, keeping them in the custody of Federline. Spears showed up at the hearing but abruptly left before going in.

Jan. 23, 2008: Once again, Spears shows up at a custody hearing but leaves before going in. Lawyer Kiley confirmed she and her legal team will stay on the case, despite the motion filed Jan. 2.

Jan. 25, 2008: Spears' lawyer wins more time to work on her driving-without-a-valid license case.

Jan. 31, 2008: Surrounded by a small army of police, family and friends, Spears is rushed from her home to UCLA's Medical Center for a 72-hour emergency psychiatric hold.

Feb. 1, 2008: Spears' father, James Spears, is put in charge of her welfare during a surprise court appearance by him and her mom, Lynne.

Feb. 4, 2008: Spears' stay in the psychiatric ward is extended for two weeks under a section in state law that allows patients to be kept for medical treatment if they are found to be gravely disabled or a danger to themselves or others. Meanwhile, at a child custody hearing, a judge ruled that she still can't see her kids. And Spears' father was granted control of her finances until Feb. 14 by another judge who also barred Spears from contacting Lutfi.

Feb. 5, 2008: Details of a restraining order filed by Spears' mom against Lutfi are released by a Los Angeles court. Lynne Spears alleges that Lutfi "essentially moved into Britney's home and has purported to take control of her life, home and finances" since meeting her in October 2007. She also claims that Lutfi drugged Britney, cut her home phone line and removed her cell phone chargers.

Feb. 6, 2008: Spears is released early from the psychiatric ward, despite her doctor's recommendations. According to People magazine, a court representative found "no just cause" for the 14-day hold Spears was put on by her doctor.

Feb. 14, 2008: A court extends the conservatorship of Spears and takes actions intended to give her father and a lawyer access to money in the pop singer's trust to cover her needs.

Feb. 19, 2008: A judge denies lawyer Kiley's request to issue a gag order Spears' child-custody battle.

Feb. 20, 2008: A judge halts Spears' driving-without-a-license case after her lawyers say they don't believe she is capable of resolving the matter.

Feb. 21, 2008: After three weeks of trying, lawyers for Spears' parents finally serve Lutfi a restraining order ordering him to stay at least 250 yards away from her and barring him from communicating with her.

Feb. 22, 2008: Federline's attorney announces he and Spears couple agreed to a modification of a court order that allows her to visit her sons.

Feb. 23, 2008: For the first time in nearly three months, Spears sees Sean Preston and Jayden James and spends three hours with them.

Feb. 26, 2008: A Los Angeles federal judge rejects a motion to move the Spears' conservatorship case to U.S. District Court, as Spears' dad and a lawyer who claims to represent her argue about whether James is violating her civil rights.

Feb. 27, 2008: Los Angeles police say they're looking into allegations that someone -- perhaps Lutfi, though they declined to name a suspect -- drugged Britney Spears but have not decided whether to open a formal investigation.

Reporting contributed by The Associated Press.