LOS ANGELES – Britney Spears' new lawyer has a tip for Kevin Federline: If you're going to ask for your legal bills to be paid, don't leave a $2,000 tip for the waiter on a $365 check.
Attorney Stacy Phillips, who recently took over Spears' case, told a court Monday that the pop star has already spent more than $1 million on her child-custody case and objects to paying nearly a half-million dollars in legal fees for her ex-husband, who has enough money to have recently left the exorbitant gratuity.
Phillips had asked for the hearing to challenge a move by Federline's lead lawyer, Mark Vincent Kaplan, to have Spears pay his legal bills. Commissioner Scott Gordon did not rule during the hearing, part of which was held behind closed doors. Superior Court spokesman Allan Parachini said the decision may be made Tuesday.
Federline has sole custody of his two little boys by Spears, who is under the conservatorship of her father, James, following her bizarre behavior and two hospitalizations. Federline and James Spears chatted amiably at court.
During the hearing, Phillips said that Federline's lawyers have billed excessively and are entitled to only about $150,00 to $175,000.
Phillips also said Federline has the money to pay his lawyers himself, citing excessive personal spending by him. She said he recently had a $365 check at a restaurant and gave the waiter a $2,000 tip.
"God bless!" Phillips said. "If he's willing to tip someone that much for serving him, he should be willing to pay his legal fees."
In a later conservatorship hearing, Commissioner Reva Goetz granted a request by Jamie Spears' attorney, Geraldine Wyle, for the singer to be given a credit or debit card in the amount of $1,500 per week "so she has some spending money and freedom of choice on how she wants to enjoy herself."
Wyle also said there was a complicated contract matter that has to be resolved by a major entertainment lawyer who normally is paid $1,000 an hour but agreed to handle it for a retainer of $15,000 a month.
The court spokesman said the commissioner also met with the parties behind closed doors and heard a report from the singer's court-appointed attorney and a discussion of a written report from a doctor who evaluated her mental state. All details of both reports were sealed.
The commissioner also set a July 31 hearing for further action on the temporary conservatorship of the pop star and her estate. The court previously ruled that the arrangement would continue in effect until then, when the commissioner will decide if the conservatorship becomes permanent.
The court spokesman said permanent meant "until it's no longer necessary. It's not a lifelong commitment."
Jamie Spears was named co-conservator of the pop star's estate after she was hospitalized twice in January.
In the year leading up to the hospitalizations, Spears had been caught on camera by paparazzi engaging in increasingly bizarre behavior. She shaved her head, beat a vehicle with an umbrella, wore skirts sans underwear and left her car on a busy thoroughfare after getting a flat tire.
The strange outbursts and hospitalizations contributed to the 26-year-old losing custody of her young sons, Jayden James, 1, and Sean Preston, 2. Federline continues to have full custody.
Spears was allowed brief visits with the boys beginning in late February after not seeing them for nearly two months. Spears' parents came to Los Angeles around the time of her second hospitalization. They pushed to restore visitation rights with the boys.
In other news, Spears reportedly will guest star on the CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.