Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills are back in court today in a bid to reach a financial conclusion to their divorce battle.

The former Beatle and his estranged wife are attending a hearing expected to last five days at the family division of the high court in London, with reports suggesting that the final divorce settlement could be the largest in British legal history.

The current record settlement is the £48 million paid by businessman John Charman to his former wife in May 2007.

The McCartneys, who have a three-year-old named Beatrice, said their divorce settlement was to be "harmonious", when announcing the end of their four-year marriage in May 2006.

But the divorce battle has grown increasingly acrimonious, with Mills linked with the leaking of unflattering rumours about Sir Paul to the tabloid press.

She also suffered a dramatic breakdown on GMTV last year, claiming she had received "worse press than a paedophile or a murderer".

Family law expert Suzanne Kingston said: "Current estimates suggest that Heather is likely to receive anything from £50m to £100 million as her final settlement.

"In Heather and Sir Paul's negotiations, making sure that their child Beatrice is properly provided for will be a key consideration, as will ensuring that there is not a vast disparity between Heather's lifestyle and Paul's as viewed by Beatrice.

"The fact that this has been a short marriage will be taken into account and this could involve looking at the wealth that has been generated during the course of the marriage as distinct from pre-marital wealth."

11/02/2008 11:05:38