February 17, 2008 / 11:26 AM / 10 years ago

McCartney divorce fight looks set for second week

LONDON (Reuters) - The divorce battle between Paul McCartney and former model Heather Mills looked set on Friday to run into a second week.

Britain's Paul McCartney (R) arrives with his lawyer Fiona Shackleton at the High Court in London February 15, 2008. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

At stake is a slice of the former Beatle’s 825 million pound ($1.6 billion) fortune and a decision that could establish an important legal precedent about the short-lived marriages of the super-rich.

After five days of legal argument, any sign of a breakthrough were dashed when officials revealed that Court 34, scene behind closed doors of one of the most high-profile show business splits, had now been booked through until Monday.

The 40-year-old Mills, whose marriage to the 65-year-old pop icon lasted less than four years, is representing herself in the high stakes case against McCartney, represented by big-money divorce lawyer Nicholas Mostyn.

Mills, who sacked her own lawyers, is believed by legal experts to be asking for 50 million pounds but McCartney, one of the founders of the world’s most famous pop group, is said to be offering less than half that sum.

On arrival at the Royal Courts of Justice on Friday, both Mills and McCartney remained tight-lipped as trolley loads of legal files and documents were wheeled into court by each side.

McCartney, wearing a light grey suit, gave no clue on the case’s progress. Mills, in a black velvet pin-striped suit and scarlet silk blouse, was equally reticent.

With the courtroom clear for continued action next week, any Beatle-inspired tabloid headlines about “We Can Work It Out” looked doomed.

McCartney married Mills in 2002, four years after his first wife Linda died of breast cancer. Their daughter, Beatrice, is four.

When the case does finally end, the judge will then reserve his judgment and give a ruling at a later stage.

If either side disputes his decision, they can take the case to the Court of Appeal and even onto the House of Lords, the highest court in the land.

But they will then have to face the case being held in open court as opposed to the current in camera proceedings being staged in a courtroom where even the windows have been covered to foil prying eyes.

Britain's Sir Paul McCartney leaves the High Court in London February 15, 2008. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Editing by Charles Dick

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