According to top divorce lawyer Liz Allen at Westcountry-based law firm Stephens Scown LLP, the fact that Hirst, 47, never married his Californian-born partner Maia Norman, 49, means that she is unlikely to qualify for much of his estimated £215 million fortune.
Ms Norman, who is mother to Hirst’s three sons, is now reportedly in a relationship with former Army officer and Falklands veteran Lt-Colonel Tim Spicer, 59.
Hirst’s main home is a £3.5 million farmhouse near Combe Martin in North Devon.
Liz Allen, who is based in Stephens Scown’s Exeter office and specialises in high net worth divorce cases, said: “Damien Hirst’s fortune has been amassed during the time he has been with Ms Norman so had they been married she would most likely be entitled to around half his wealth.
“Even though they have children the fact they never married means she is unlikely to receive much by way of a settlement, unless some of that wealth is in joint names in which case she would be entitled to half, or solely in her name in which case it would be legally hers.
“Cases involving such wealth where the parties are not married are quite rare. It also highlights the fact that the notion of ‘common law’ marriage is a myth. You are either married or you are not, and in the absence of a formal cohabitation agreement any settlement between non-married parties will always favour the main breadwinner."
Liz Allen is consistently ranked highly in the UK’s top two independent legal guides, Chambers and Legal 500, and is the only lawyer in Devon and Cornwall to appear in the Citywealth Leaders List, an independent list of some of the best advisors in private wealth management in the world.
Stephens Scown has offices in Exeter, Truro and St Austell. For more information visit www.stephens-scown.co.uk
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