Deal Nearer In McCartney-Mills Divorce?

Paul McCartney and his estranged wife, Heather Mills, were in day three Wednesday of the hearing that could resolve their long-running and bitter divorce battle.

And, reported CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips on The Early Show Wednesday, "For a divorce hearing that is being held behind closed doors and in which the judge is said to have warned that leaking details could result in contempt of court charges, there's a lot of tea leaf reading going on. And the leaves, it seems, have changed."

The curious public has had to make do with brief glimpses of the grim faces of Sir Paul and Mills trundling into and out of the Royal Courts of Justice. McCartney's got a team of high-priced lawyers; she's representing herself but, it seems, with some legal advice.

And, Phillips remarked, "The TV interview histrionics she's become famous for won't work in court."

Lately, though, the faces are said to be a little less grim, Phillips says. Noises out of the respective camps talk of the atmosphere being more relaxed. Heather is 'happy,' one of her advisers says, after her testimony.

At stake, of course, is how much of his money she gets. McCartney's fortune has been estimated as high as $1.5 billion, although it's also been put at a much lower figure. She is said to want somewhere between $20 million and $150 million. It's money she apparently says she needs to bring up their daughter, custody of whom they have reportedly already agreed to share.

Says attorney Mark Stephens: "So, she won't have to pay school fees, she won't have to pay for security, she won't have to pay for food, or lodging, or housing, or any of those things, for Beatrice and, as a consequence, as long as Beatrice is a minor, then Heather will actually be very, very secure."

The prying world may never get to know the final settlement numbers, Phillips points out -- they'd only become public if one of the parties is unhappy with the judge's ruling and decides to appeal.

One other element under dispute seems to be whether Heather will agree to a confidentiality clause. In other words, Phillips observes, "whether she'll muzzle herself about the marriage. We've already learned that she doesn't do muzzle very well.

"There are also hints from members of her family that once the deal is done, she'll leave the country. Who knows? Britain's loss may well be America's gain!"