The attorney representing Britney Spears' ex-husband in her child custody battle has expressed doubt over the star's decision to miss a legal hearing.

Last week, the Gimme More star called opposition lawyers on the morning of a deposition, to inform them she was too sick to testify about her past and parenting capabilities.

The singer was expected to face a grilling during the formal meeting, which was scheduled to take place at the offices of her former husband Kevin Federline's legal team.

Speaking to US magazine, Federline's attorney Marc Vincent Kaplan said he was sceptical about reports that Spears had fallen sick and had suffered an anxiety attack due to the media presence outside her house.

He said: "If the paparazzi are something that are causing anxiety, that is something I would assume that she deals with most of her life.

"So I am not sure why the paparazzi anxiety level happened to coincide with the fact that the court ordered her to appear to be cross examined."

Kaplan told the magazine he was not affected by the cancellation and stated the deposition would take place within the next month.

Spears, who criticises the paparazzi in the video for her latest single Piece of Me, is looking to regain equal custody arrangements of her two sons with Federline after a Los Angeles court put an end to the system over fears for her children's well-being. The move followed damaging testimony from former staff as well as media reports about the singer missing drug tests and committing driving offences.

Currently the 26-year-old is only allowed supervised visits with her children.

Federline's chief lawyer has questioned a number of Spears' friends and former employees in the past about the pop star's behaviour.

The judge ruling in the case previously criticised Spears for being a "habitual, frequent and continuous" user of alcohol and controlled substances and ordered to her to undergo regular drug tests and attend parenting sessions.

17/12/2007 07:13:27