Macca Misses Out By A Month

One ironic twist to Sir Paul McCartney‘s separation from Heather Mills is that the story broke about a month before his birthday.

Apart from the fact his second wife won’t still be needing him and feeding him when he’s 64 (McCartney was born June 18th, 1942), the former mop-top Beatle is facing a divorce settlement that’s likely to run to several millions.

There have been pages of newspaper speculation about how much of a hard day’s legal fight the couple is likely to have. Settlement predictions range between £50 million and £200 million, but a more serious assessment of the situation is probably best put on hold until the country’s law lords rule on a couple of test cases heard earlier in the year.

Any day now the House of Lords will deliver judgment on the cases of city fund manager Alan Miller and successful accountant Kenneth McFarlane, detailing how much each of them will have to fork out to their ex-spouses. The judgment could set a precedent for McCartney’s case.

Miller is contesting a Court of Appeal ruling that awarded ex-wife Melissa a quarter of his £20 million fortune, although the marriage lasted less than three years.

The law lords are also considering whether McFarlane should pay his ex-wife £260,000 a year for five years, as opposed to the £180,000 a year for life that was awarded by the lower courts.

If the Miller judgment is upheld, then there’ll be a legal precedent to say McCartney – who has been married to Mills for four years – should pay out at least a quarter of his estimated £825 million fortune.

However, his lawyer would likely argue that since the pair met when Sir Paul was in his late 50s, his fortune had already been established, so Mills can hardly claim to have been that much of an influence on his career.

Most papers agree that McCartney’s decision not to sign a pre-nuptial agreement might cost him dear. But despite such documents proving that a couple did once show a willingness to pre-agree a divorce settlement, such deals have no binding in English law.

Had there been such a signed agreement, it wouldn’t prejudice either party’s right to sue for something different at a later date.

As with many personalities who openly court press attention, the couple said the main reason for the split is “media intrusion.”

– John Gammon