Britney Spears will be permitted more access to her two sons after a new hearing in her custody battle with her ex-husband Kevin Federline.

The troubled singer will be allowed more visitation time with Sean Preston, two-and-a-half, and 20-month-old Jayden James after a Los Angeles judge recognised Britney's efforts to maintain a low profile, following a lengthy spell of worrying behaviour.

She had lost custody of the two boys in October and saw her visitation rights suspended in January after she was admitted to the psychiatric ward of UCLA medical centre after a public stand-off with police following a visit.

But according to Federline's lawyer Mark Vincent Kaplan, the court has agreed to "an expansion of time" in Britney's permitted visitations with her children.

"We are so pleased with Britney's progress, and we are appreciative of the court's recognition of this progress," her parents, James and Lynne Spears, said in a statement after the hearing.

Mr Kaplan added: "It is a cautious step, but a step forward nonetheless.

"We are seeing signs of [Britney's] progress, and consistency over time is something welcome by Kevin... The children are doing great," he told People magazine.

The Toxic star's public appearances have been drastically reduced since her father James and attorney Andrew Wallet were granted temporary co-conservatorship of her affairs, with a well-received cameo appearance on US sitcom How I Met Your Mother her most high-profile outing.

James Spears and Wallet's control of Britney's estate was extended until July 31st last month while a restraining order against her ex-manager and confidante Sam Lufti was also upheld by a Los Angeles district court.

07/05/2008 09:21:37