With his rumored infidelities and her near-total absence from his daily life, Donald and Melania Trump aren't exactly poster children for the ideal marriage. But what would happen if the president got a divorce? Would it be different than any other American divorce? Well, yes and no. The high profile of both the president and first lady would obviously make it a publicity circus. And while the divorce would be handled legally the same as any other couple's split, there would almost definitely be some special considerations given their prominent political roles. When a run-of-the-mill politician gets divorced, it's rarely newsworthy; if a president did while serving, it would be a first in the nation's history.
Adding an additional layer onto the couple's split: they have a prenup in place. Because of the special circumstances, however, Melania may be able to negotiate different terms, and Donald may just concede. The split would draw international attention, and it'd be both fascinating and probably terrifying to see how it plays out.
The single biggest influence on a Donald-Melania divorce would be the prenuptial agreement. A prenup is a legal document that a couple draws up before they're married. In it, they define who gets what, should the marriage end in divorce; it adds a measure of security for both spouses and makes a potential divorce easier to navigate.
Trump has said that his prenup with Melania has made their marriage stronger. "It’s a hard, painful, ugly tool," he said of the prenup. "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.'"
If Donald and Melania were to call it quits, it's pretty much guaranteed he would do whatever it takes to keep her quiet. Trump is, after all, the king of the nondisclosure agreement. But even with a prenup, he surely knows the more money he shells out, the more control he can exert over his ex, thus essentially buying her silence and acquiescence. "It is not unusual to see the non-moneyed spouse still getting a little more in the settlement than the prenup entitled him or her to," divorce attorney Thomas Kretchmar told Town & Country.
"The non-moneyed spouse may believe that just the idea of challenging the agreement will strike enough fear, stress, and overall agita into the moneyed spouse—in terms of not wanting to be in the courts, not wanting to be in Page Six—that he or she may be willing to pay a little more just to make it go away."
Prenups are notoriously difficult to challenge, especially in New York. That doesn't mean, however, that Melania couldn't try to challenge the document in the event of a divorce. She could argue that because Trump wasn't president when they married—and probably wasn't even considering the presidency when they married—she was forced into a role she never signed up for.
Thus, she could contend that the terms of the prenup should be modified to fit the very unique position in which she finds herself. There's no saying whether this approach would definitively work, but Melania would be in a circumstance that no prior First Lady has ever been, so it just might be successful and set a future precedent.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that if she and Donald split, Melania would more than likely head back to New York City so fast, she'd leave skid-marks on the floor of the now-Trumpian-gold Oval Office. In New York, she could easily set herself up in another gilded tower in the sky (Donald would probably keep the Trump Tower penthouse they shared).
It's been well-documented Melania did not immediately move to D.C. after her husband's swearing-in. Since she's arrived, she's maintained the same low profile she did in New York. From outward appearances, Melania would be all too happy to leave D.C. and return to NYC with her son.