A lot of attention has been focused on Melania and Donald Trump ever since news broke of the president’s alleged affair with adult entertainment star Stormy Daniels. Some are wondering if the couple might be headed for divorce. Rumors started after Melania suddenly canceled a trip with the president and went on a solo trip to Florida instead.
If Melania and Donald did part ways, what would the first lady get in a divorce settlement? Here’s what we found.
Donald Trump says a prenup is good for the relationship
Donald Trump is a big fan of prenuptial agreements. He doesn’t get married without them. Because of his wealth and his relationship history, it’s easy to see why. Trump told New York Magazine that a prenup made his relationship with Melania stronger. He says it’s better to know who is going to get what from the beginning. “Believe me, there’s nothing fun about it. But there comes a time when you have to say, ‘Darling, I think you’re magnificent, and I care for you deeply, but if things don’t work out, this is what you’re going to get,'” said Trump.
Next: Donald Trump thinks he’s an expert in protecting his marital assets.
A prenup expert?
In 2012, on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Donald Trump offered some unsolicited advice to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Trump suggested that Zuckerberg should have his then-girlfriend Priscilla Chan sign a prenup. He even offered to look at the agreement if Zuckerberg chose to get one. “I think I’d be one of the great professionals and advise him,” Trump jokingly said during his CNBC interview. He said Zuckerberg should only give Chan $1 million if they ever split up. “I think if she made a million dollars that would be very good,” said Trump.
Next: Here’s what Donald’s other wives got in a divorce.
Would Melania contest the prenup?
If the way past wives Ivana Trump and Marla Maples reacted is any indication, Melania will likely contest the prenup. Both Ivana and Marla contested their agreements. In the end, Ivana was awarded $14 million in cash, $350,000 in annual alimony, and child support payments of $300,000 each year for their three children. The former Mrs. Trump also snagged their Greenwich, Connecticut, mansion and a Trump Plaza apartment. After a brief battle, Maples settled for just $2 million.
Next: Melania would probably get some of this.
Melania would likely be granted one of Trump’s many real estate properties. Ivana was able to get a Trump Plaza apartment, so it’s possible Melania might also be granted a luxury apartment. Jacqueline Newman, a managing partner with Berkman Bottger Newman & Rodd told Town & Country it’s not uncommon for a wealthy spouse to purchase an apartment for the spouse with less money.
Next: What would happen to this?
Personal property and businesses
When it comes to personal property like jewelry, these items generally stay in that person’s possession. So, for example, any jewelry given to Melania would likely be hers to keep. And what about money earned from her jewelry business? Without the actual agreement to review, it’s hard to say what would happen to any businesses Melania starts after their marriage.
Next: What about Barron?
Who would Barron stay with?
Melania has been quite vocal about the fact that she’s the main caregiver. It’s likely she would be the primary custodian if she and Donald were to divorce. Melania told People she has taken over most of the parenting duties since her husband travels often. She also told the magazine since Barron is at an age where he’s still discovering life, she wants to be an active guide. “He wants to be a golfer, a businessman, a pilot. It’s that age when you introduce him to stuff, and I like to be very hands-on,” she said.
Next: Her settlement would likely include this.
Generous child support payments
If Melania and Donald Trump divorce, it’s also likely there will be generous child support payments. As noted earlier, Ivana received a pretty decent payout. Marla received less cash, but her settlement did include money for private school tuition for their daughter (Tiffany Trump), payments for nanny costs, and coverage for medical expenses.
Next: Could this happen?
What if there isn’t a prenup?
You might be wondering what would happen if there wasn’t a prenuptial agreement. If there isn’t a prenup (something that’s highly unlikely), attorney Peter Stambleck, a partner at Aronson Mayefsky & Sloan, told Town & Country things would likely get very complicated.
Billionaires have complicated asset structures. They have shell companies, LLCs, investments in other companies, and it’s very, very complicated. One main purpose of a prenup is to avoid having to share in that, but also to avoid the headache that goes into producing all the documents and having accountants come in and look at all of it. Theoretically, that’s what could happen in the absence of a prenup.
Next: Is it even possible for the POTUS to divorce their spouse?
What would happen if they split up during his term?
Aside from their prenuptial agreement, Melania would leave the White House and become the “former first lady.” If a president were to divorce his wife and then remarry all while still serving his term, she would become the current FLOTUS in place of the former.
Getting a divorce while still in office probably won’t happen strictly for political reasons. In fact, it’s never happened before — and only one other previously divorced president has held office.
Next: Divorced presidents aren’t common, but we’ve seen it before.
Donald isn’t the first divorced U.S. president
Most of the 45 U.S. presidents have entered the White House alongside their wives and stayed married throughout their terms. Only one former president never married. Another, like Donald, served as president alongside someone other than his first wife.
Ronald and Nancy Reagan married after his divorce from Jane Wyman. They stayed married until his death in 2004.
Next: This is how most presidential couples say their goodbyes.
Most presidential marriages end in death
“Til death do us part” is a vow that’s held true for the majority of former U.S. presidents. Though some have remarried after the fact — both while in office and after their presidencies — most have stayed together despite scandal and public scrutiny.
So far, the longest-lasting presidential marriage (George H.W. and Barbara Bush) is still going strong after 73 years.
Next: Is a “first someone” really necessary?
Does a president need a first lady?
When Hillary Clinton campaigned against Donald Trump in the 2016 election, many wondered what we’d call Bill Clinton if his wife won the presidency (“first gentleman,” if you were curious). But what would happen if there wasn’t a presidential spouse to give a “first” title?
James Buchanan was the only U.S. president who served his entire term unmarried. If Donald and Melania Trump did part ways, technically, he wouldn’t need a stand-in. But history has shown first ladies play meaningful political roles, using their positions for good. Even if he didn’t remarry, he might still consider appointing someone to fill the space a former first lady left behind.
Additional reporting by Meg Dowell.
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