All eyes have been on Melania since Donald Trump’s presidency ended. According to ex-Trump aides, the former first lady is rumoured to be “counting the minutes” until she can divorce the man who she met in 1998 and married seven years later.
But why now? As former The Apprentice star and ex-aide Omarosa Manigault Newman puts it: “If Melania were to try to pull the ultimate humiliation and leave while he’s in office, he would find a way to punish her.”
But now Trump is out of office, and after signing a prenuptial agreement, what would Melania walk away with?
Would Melania or Donald get custody of Barron Trump?
Trump paid out US$650,000 for Ivana to take care of his three kids with her: Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric.
He agreed to give second wife Marla Maples a mere US$100,000 in child support payments for Tiffany until she was 21 years old.
Melania is known to be especially close to her son Barron, so it’s expected the pair would stick together.
Trump knows about divorce settlements
When Ivana’s divorce was finalised in 1992, she got US$14 million, according to The New York Times.
Maples and Trump settled their divorce in 1999, but the model and actress – who wanted US$25 million – only netted around US$2 million, and half was to be used to buy a home. She received no alimony.
Robert Cohen was the divorce lawyer in both the Maples and Ivana cases – but that doesn’t mean Melania could end up worse off than Maples. Melania may only have one child with Trump, but Barron has enjoyed a much more lavish upbringing than his older half-siblings – so may require significantly more to keep up his standard of living.
Melania’s former best friend and ex-aide Stephanie Wolkoff has claimed their marriage is “transactional” and that the Slovenian-born fashion model was looking into a postnuptial agreement.
Washington Post reporter Mary Jordan wrote in her book, The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump, that the first lady delayed moving into the White House with Barron in 2017 so she’d have leverage to renegotiate her prenup, signed 12 years before Trump became the American leader and was a property mogul heading for reality stardom.
Then there are the many properties …
Ivana walked away with a 45-room mansion in Connecticut, a flat in Trump Plaza, and use of the Mar-a-Lago, Florida, estate for one month a year (she even married her fourth husband there).
Half of Maples’ US$2 million settlement was for her to buy a house, so there was no need to divvy up their personal real estate portfolio.
However, Melania has been married to Trump the longest, so could be expected to have used that to her benefit in property negotiations.
She personally owns a flat in Trump Tower that’s separate to the family’s penthouse home, but with her Slovenian-born parents now living in the US, perhaps she’d prefer to take the cash like Maples and buy a roomier place.
Ivana Trump in The first wives club 1996 . pic.twitter.com/5ypErDqGvy
— Maharta Gandhi (@mahartagandhi) August 6, 2018
Could Melania make extra money from selling her divorce story?
Ivana successfully contested her prenup with Trump and went on to become something of a divorcee icon by writing a book and even appearing in the movie First Wives Club off the back of the break-up. She and Trump also benefited from a Pizza Hut commercial where they reference their high-profile split.
But Maples signed an NDA, preventing her from sharing even a fictional depiction of their relationship, and it’s likely Melania similarly gagged.
Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.