Singer Britney Spears has been ordered to pay her husband's legal bills as the custody battle for the couple's children continues.

The judge hearing the case, Scott Gordon, ruled that the Gimme More star pay former spouse Kevin Federline $120,000 (£57,300) in legal costs, as he is unable to meet the expenses on his own.

Federline's attorney Marc Vincent Kaplan had requested the court intervene to ensure that legal fees of $160,000 (£76,400) were paid.

The lawyer told People magazine: "We've already incurred more fees above the $164,000 in the document, and we expect we will be incurring significant other fees going into the trial. I intend to make further fee orders up to the date of the trial," he added.

Court documents show Gordon citing state family law as stating that payments may be made on behalf of a rival party in a court case if the necessary conditions exist.

In the documents, he wrote: "Even if a party has the ability to pay his or her own fees, a disparity in the parties' respective circumstances may itself demonstrate relative 'need'."

Both singers have declared their incomes to the court. Federline, who met Spears while working as a dancer on one of her past tours, grossed $7,436 (£3,530) in 2006 after business expenses. In contrast Spears earns approximately $737,000 (£351,000) a month, with rap artist Federline currently receiving a monthly payment of $35,000 from his former wife.

Spears and Federline are fighting for the custody of their two boys.
In the past, the court cancelled the couple's joint custody
arrangements awarding Federline full custody of the two children.

Spears currently holds visitation rights allowing her to meet her children every week.

07/11/2007 07:19:03