Sir Paul McCartney has resumed negotiations with his estranged wife Heather Mills in a desperate bid to avoid their private life being scrutinised in the divorce courts. The former Beatle is alleged to have spoken to Mills over the phone "three or four" times in the last week in an effort to settle their divorce out-of-court, ahead of their scheduled hearing in February (08). Reports suggest MCCartney made the first move via his lawyers at Paynes Hicks Beach with the message: 'Paul's ready to talk.' He is allegedly keen to avoid having intimate details of his four-year marriage to Mills - including allegations of domestic violence - revealed in court, amid concerns about the effect the publicity will have on their four-year-old daughter, Beatrice. A source tells British newspaper the Daily Mail, "One of the chats went on for at least 15 minutes, which is the longest they have spoken to one another in months and months. "It seems that the mood has definitely changed and they are both now ready to resolve things more sensibly." The couple split in May 2006. MCCartney's personal fortune is estimated at $1.5 billion (GBP750 million).