A court commissioner on Wednesday granted Spears some visitation rights, but did not reverse a previous order giving temporary custody to Federline, the former backup dancer's attorney said after a lengthy hearing.
Superior Court Commissioner Scott M. Gordon was expected to issue an order detailing the visitation rights, attorney Mark Vincent Kaplan said, but the order was not released by the time court closed for the day.
Court spokesman Allan Parachini indicated Spears would be allowed monitored visits every other day.
Federline attended the hearing but Spears did not. Her attorney, Sorrell Trope, did not speak to reporters.
Both Federline, 29, and Spears, 25, were ordered back to court on Oct. 26 for another hearing.
"Kevin wants to maintain the custody that he has as long as he can," Kaplan said.
He said Spears' attorney argued strenuously for withdrawal of the order that gave temporary custody of the boys to Federline.
The hearing began with Federline standing and being sworn in by a court clerk before the courtroom was cleared of media for the private hearing.
Flanked by bodyguards, Federline arrived in a blue suit and wearing a black patch over his right eye, covered by a pair of sunglasses. He had a sore eye and needed the patch to prevent glare, Kaplan said.
"He (Federline) thought it was important for the court to see who he is and to be there should the court have any desire to ask him anything that the court wanted to," Kaplan said.
Spears and Federline previously shared custody of the boys. Federline also has a son and daughter with former girlfriend Shar Jackson.
Monday's court order for Spears to temporarily surrender 2-year-old Sean Preston and 1-year-old Jayden James to Federline came after the pop star failed to produce a California driver's license and allegedly missed a drug and alcohol test as ordered by the court, Trope told People magazine.
A temporary driver's license was issued to Spears late Tuesday in Santa Monica, California Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman Mike Marando said Wednesday.
"She has completed her requirements for a driver's license," he said.
Among her recent problems, Spears was charged with misdemeanor counts of hit-and-run and driving without a valid license for allegedly crashing into a parked car in August.
Spears and Federline were married in October 2004. She filed for divorce last November and it became official in July.
Gordon previously ordered Spears to undergo random drug and alcohol testing twice a week after the court found she engages in "habitual, frequent and continuous use of controlled substances and alcohol."
He also previously ordered Spears to meet weekly with a "parenting coach" who was to report back to the court about her skills. Both Spears and Federline must complete the court's "Parenting Without Conflict" class.
Kaplan said Wednesday his client has been in full compliance with the commissioner's order.
Barretto went to court last month to support a sealed declaration about Spears' questionable behavior in the child custody case, but attorneys for Spears and Federline declined to hear his testimony.
Spears has spiraled seemingly out of control since splitting with Federline. First she hit the Hollywood party circuit, where she was photographed several times sans underwear. Then she volleyed in and out of rehab, shaved her head, beat a car with an umbrella and eventually spent a month at the posh Promises rehab clinic in Malibu.
An MTV Video Music Awards performance intended as a comeback was panned, with Spears appearing lethargic. The following week, her management firm dropped her and her divorce lawyer resigned.
By GREG RISLING