Paul McCartney offers Heather Mills $20m

Society Materials 21 July 2007 10:52 (UTC +04:00)
Paul McCartney offers Heather Mills $20m

( telegraph.co.uk ) - Sir Paul McCartney has reportedly offered a divorce settlement worth $20 million to his estranged wife Heather Mills.

At one stage there was speculation that the divorce settlement could leave the former Beatle with a bill for $20 million, but it is reported that Lady McCartney is holding out for $50 million. If the couple do not reach agreement, their financial dispute could be fought out in the High Court next year.

The case is listed for a five-day hearing next February before Mr Justice Bennett, a Family Division judge who conducted a preliminary hearing last March.

Sir Paul, 65, and Lady McCartney, 39, are using the two lawyers who acted in the divorce of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Sir Paul has instructed Fiona Shackleton. Lady McCartney is represented by Anthony Julius. A spokesman for his firm, Mishcon de Reya, had no immediate comment on the reports.

Miss Shackleton's firm, Payne Hicks Beach, issued a joint statement with Mishcon de Reya in March, in which they said: "The parties both ask the media please to respect their privacy and the confidentiality of the proceedings, as they work to settle the outstanding issues between them in their divorce."

Following a ruling by the Court of Appeal in May, the law now presumes that marital assets are to be divided equally between both parties.

Previously, equality had been regarded by the courts as no more than a yardstick.

But it does not follow from this that Lady McCartney would be entitled to anything like half Sir Paul's fortune, estimated at more than $800 million. Assets acquired before a marriage may not be included.

And there may be exceptions where one party - usually the husband - has made a "special contribution" to the family funds.