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Divorce could see Melania Trump get huge payout

Donald Trump’s time in the White House is expected to an end in a matter of weeks and the question of what he and Melania will do has been the topic of much discussion.The Trumps will need to be out of the White House by January 20, when Joe Biden will be sworn in as…

Donald Trump’s time in the White House is expected to an end in a matter of weeks and the question of what he and Melania will do has been the topic of much discussion.

The Trumps will need to be out of the White House by January 20, when Joe Biden will be sworn in as the next US President.

Even if Mr Trump is still refusing to accept the outcome of the election by that time, officials have said he is likely to be forcibly removed.

So, one way or another, Mr Trump will vacate the White House. Where this leaves him, Melania and their 14-year-old son Barron is another question.

Mr Trump’s former aide and The Apprentice star, Omarosa Manigault Newman, recently claimed the couple’s 15-year marriage was coming to an end.

“Melania is counting every minute until he is out of office and she can divorce,” the Daily Mail quoted Ms Newman as saying.

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Ms Newman’s claims have sparked renewed speculation about the couple’s prenup agreement and what Melania would get if they divorced.

Earlier this year lifestyle magazine Town & Country asked multiple high-profile divorce attorneys to provide their professional opinions on what kind of prenup the First Lady would have signed.

Peter Stambleck, partner at Aronson Mayefsky & Sloan in New York, told the publication he would have recommended a “title controls prenup”, which is something he says wealthy people commonly get before marriage.

“It makes it very clear that, in the event of divorce, everything in his name will be his and everything in her name will be hers. Billionaires have complicated asset structures. They have shell companies, LLCs, investments in other companies, and it’s very, very complicated,” Mr Stambleck said.

“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.”

Jacqueline Newman, managing partner at Berkman Bottger Newman & Rodd said Melania would likely be the primary caretaker of Barron in the event of a divorce.

“In this situation, if she has $50 million ($A69m), she can afford to buy something. But $50 million, while it’s definitely a lot of money, in New York City, for what she’s used to, she wouldn’t be able to replicate what she has now,” she told the publication

“He probably had a good sense of what kind of lifestyle they’d be living, so I would imagine the payout would be fairly generous.”

Melania’s financial arrangement if her marriage to Mr Trump ends could be even more comfortable now, with the suggestion she may have negotiated a better deal when her husband took office in 2017.

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When Mr Trump first moved in to the White House in 2017, his wife and son famously stayed back in New York.

At the time, Melania said it was because she didn’t want to interrupt Barron’s school year.

Earlier this year The Washington Post reporter Mary Jordan released her new book The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump and in it she claims there was another reason for the moving delay.

The book claims the First Lady used details of her husband’s alleged infidelities that had emerged in 2016 to secure a better financial future for her and Barron.

“She wanted proof in writing that when it came to financial opportunities and inheritance, Barron would be treated as more of an equal to Trump’s oldest three children,” Jordan wrote.

The pair eventually settled into the White House in early June 2017 and she seemed visibly happier by mid-2018, the book said.

“According to three people close to Trump, a key reason was that she had finally reached a new and significantly improved financial agreement with Trump, which had left her in a noticeably better financial position,” she wrote.

Thomas Kretchmar, associate at Chemtob Moss & Forman told Town & Country it was possible for spouses to “modify the terms of an existing prenuptial agreement in response to a material event”.

“It is done in a document called a postnuptial agreement. Sometimes postnups are used as a stopgap to an eventual divorce,” he said.

“Other times they are genuinely just a revision or refinement of existing rights in light of a change in the spouses’ circumstances.”

Mr Trump’s first ex-wife, Ivana, successfully contested their prenup when their marriage broke down.

As a result she received $10 million ($A13.7million), $650,000 ($A895,000) a year for child support and a New York apartment.

His second wife, Marla Maples, received much less when they split, reportedly being awarded $2 million ($A2.7million).

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