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Melania Trump's prenup agreement - and what happens if she divorces Donald Trump

 Donald Trump and Melania Trump. (Courtesy)

When Donald Trump married his third wife, Melania Knauss, he was already a successful businessman with a huge fortune. After meeting at a party in 1998, the couple tied the knot in front of some of the most famous and influential people in the world. But before they said 'I Do', Trump made the model sign a prenup - just as he did before his two previous trips up the aisle. While Melania has come out to defend her husband after his election loss to Joe Biden, a former aide has previously claimed she's "counting every minute until he is out of office and she can divorce".

In 2018, Omarosa Manigault Newman claimed the couple's marriage was over, saying: "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." However, the First Lady's spokesman said Newman barely knew Melania. But what happens if they do split up?

While the details of their prenup are secret, the topic of their agreement is said to be a source of fascination in legal circles. Peter Stambleck, from New York based legal firm Aronson Mayefsky & Sloan, told Town and Country magazine that he would have recommended a title controls prenup.

He explains: "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. 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."

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He also claims that Melania would probably be allowed to keep any jewellery she has been given during the marriage. When it comes to the couple's son Barron, Jacqueline Newman, managing partner at Berkman Bottger Newman & Rodd, believes Melania would be the primary caretaker and could get a lot of cash to look after the 14-year-old.

 Donald Trump and Melania Trump during their wedding (Courtesy)

She told the magazine: "My guess is that she would get primary custodial rights and he would get access whenever he happens to be in town. In this situation, if she has $50 million, 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. 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."

However, a book about the First Lady claims she used his election victory to renegotiate the conditions of her prenup. She didn't move into the White House straight away, remaining in New York so the couple's son Barron could finish the school year. But Washington Post reporter Mary Jordan claims another motivation was that it gave her time to work out her finances.

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In her book The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump, she wrote: “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."

Trump's first two wives also had prenups, but both successfully contested them. After his first marriage to Ivana broke down, she argued her case and was awarded $10million from the businessman and a further $650,000 a year of child support. She also got an apartment in New York and a huge Connecticut mansion. His second wife, Marla Maples, got far less - around $2million.

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