Wednesday, February 27, 2008

McCartney-Mills divorce deal could be made public: reports

1 hour, 42 minutes ago

Details of the settlement in the long-running divorce case between former Beatle Paul McCartney and his estranged wife Heather Mills could be made public, media reports suggested Wednesday.

Divorce hearings in Britain are held behind closed doors, unless one side challenges the settlement, in which case the appeal is open to the public. Terms are also generally kept private, unless the parties agree otherwise.

But Britain's domestic Press Association news agency quoted unnamed sources as saying that the judge in the case, Hugh Bennett, was considering approaching McCartney and Mills to ask if parts of his ruling can be released.

London's Evening Standard, which carried a similar report, also quoting unnamed sources, said the likely approach was due to the "overwhelming interest" in the case and speculation about how much Mills could receive.

Both reports said a target date of March 17 has been set and that any public version of the settlement would only be partial. The Standard said provisions for the couple's four-year-old daughter, Beatrice, would not be released.

McCartney, 65, and Mills, 40, split in May 2006 after a four-year marriage.

They have been in legal discussions ever since to determine how much Mills, a former model turned charity campaigner, would receive from McCartney's estimated 825-million-pound (1.1-billion-euro, 1.6-billion-dollar) fortune.

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