Judge to rule in bitter McCartney divorce case

Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:26am EDT
 
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Former Beatle Paul McCartney is expected to find out on Monday how much of his fortune he must hand over to estranged wife Heather Mills when a judge rules on their acrimonious and highly public divorce.

With the world's media poised to pore over every detail of any judgment, it is unclear whether judge Hugh Bennett will make public all or part of his decision, due to be handed out at London's High Court.

The ruling will not necessarily spell the end of one of the most bitter and high-profile break-ups in British legal history.

If either side is unhappy, they can apply for permission to challenge the ruling in the Court of Appeal. Unlike the closed hearings so far, those proceedings would be in open court.

"I don't think there's ever been a divorce case that has attracted so much publicity, certainly in Britain, and there probably won't be ever again," said Alan Kaufman, family lawyer at Finers Stephens Innocent.

McCartney, 65, married former model and charity campaigner Mills, 40, in 2002, but they split four years later, blaming media intrusion into their private lives. They have a daughter Beatrice, aged four.

Press and public attention intensified in the following months, with tabloid newspapers printing lurid stories about Mills's past and generally casting McCartney, seen as an icon in Beatles-mad Britain, as the innocent party.

At one point, though, McCartney vowed to defend himself in court against accusations published in newspapers that he physically attacked Mills during their marriage.   Continued...

 
<p>British singer Paul McCartney performs at the Brit Awards at Earls Court in London February 20, 2008. McCartney is expected to find out on Monday how much of his fortune he must hand over to estranged wife Heather Mills when a judge rules on their acrimonious and highly public divorce. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico</p>