The pop singer stands to gain more by avoiding a messy trial, according to a lawyer

By Ken Lee
Updated July 17, 2008 06:30 PM

Britney Spears and ex-husband Kevin Federline are headed for a custody trial next month – but some legal experts say a settlement is more likely.

“If Britney goes to trial, it’s a gamble,” says L.A. family lawyer Lynn Soodik, who’s not involved with the case. “Yes, she could win more time with her kids, or she could lose what’s already in place.”

The former couple, who are parents to Preston, 2 1/2, and Jayden, 1 1/2, are due back in court Friday for a routine custody hearing.

Spears currently has monitored visitation with her sons twice a week with one overnight. In January, after a forced hospitalization at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Spears lost all visitation rights with her kids until the following month.

“It’s extremely rare for a parent to be under conservatorship during a custody battle,” adds Soodik. “Because of this, it’s in her best interest to fight for more custody only after she regains her health. A settlement can happen at any time.”

A source close to Spears says the singer will likely get increased visitation as time goes on.

She remains under her father’s legal control until July 31, when a court will decide whether to extend his powers.