Mills receives £24.3m in McCartney divorce settlement

Payne Hicks Beach

client Sir Paul McCartney is to pay estranged wife Heather Mills £24.3m in a divorce settlement determined by High Court judge Mr Justice Bennett.

The couple failed to reach an agreement in court last month, resulting in the dispute being reserved to Bennett J.

Speaking outside London’s High Court, Mills said she was “glad it’s over” and “it was an incredible result to secure mine and my daughter’s future”.

Mills sought an award of almost £125m, while McCartney proposed that she should leave the marriage with assets of £15.8m, according to a summary released by the court.

Bennett J decided McCartney should pay Mills a lump sum of £16.5m, which together with her assets of £7.8m means that she exits the marriage with total assets of £24.3m.

The lump sum of £16.5m is made up of £14m as the capitalised figure for Mills’ income needs, which the judge assessed as £600,000 each year, and a sum of £2.5m to buy a property in London.

For the couple’s daughter Beatrice a financial provision was made where McCartney would pay £35,000 annually as well as for her nanny and her school fees.

The total figure also includes £500,000 to finance Mills’ “overspending” in the period of separation.

Bennett J also found that, including his business and assets, McCartney was worth £400m. The judge held that there was no evidence before him that McCartney’s fortune was in the region of £800m as the media had previously reported.

The high court’s ruling was based on Mills and McCartney cohabiting from the date of their marriage – 11 June 2002 – opposed to March 2000. The couple separated in April 2006 making the length of the marriage just under four years.

The alleged conduct of the parties were broadly taken as irrelevant, with Bennett J ruling that Mills’ needs were a factor of magnetic importance.

Fiona Shackleton, a partner at Payne Hicks Beach, represented McCartney while Mills acted as a litigant in person after falling out with her lawyers at Mishcon de Reya.