20 JULY 2007

While there's been a notable thaw in relations between Paul McCartney and Heather Mills recently, lawyers for the estranged pair are still busy thrashing out the details of their divorce deal. Estimates put the final settlement that the veteran musician could give to Heather - the mother of his little girl Beatrice - at between £20 million and £70 million.

According to one British newspaper, the ex-Beatle is set to pay the anti-landmines campaigner a lump sum of £15 million, followed by £3.5 million annually until their daughter, now three, reaches her 18th birthday.

Under the agreement, 65-year-old Sir Paul would also pay all of Beatrice's expenses including her travel, nannies and security. The settlement - which would be the largest in British legal history - would include a clause binding both parties never to discuss the breakdown of the relationship.

Another report says the two camps are still haggling over the exact sum, with the former model holding out for £50 million while the singer is prepared to offer just under half that. If no agreement is reached the matter will go to the High Court, where the judge who conducted a preliminary hearing earlier this year will preside. The case is listed for a five-day hearing in February.

Sources close to the mother-of-one say the sticking point is the confidentiality agreement: "Heather wants her story told. She feels she should have that platform to turn around media perceptions about her," said the friend. "If she wants to update her biography, for example, she can't just pretend the marriage never happened."

Photo: ©
Lawyers for the estranged couple, who split last May, are continuing negotiations over the final sum Sir Paul will pay HeatherPhoto: © AFPClick on photo to enlarge