Melania’s potential huge divorce payout
Melania Trump could receive as much as $68 million in a divorce settlement if she officially cuts ties with her husband, US President Donald Trump, according to a high-profile divorce lawyer.
The pair first met in 1998 when a young Melania Knauss was introduced to the then-real estate mogul. They have been married for 15 years and have one son, Barron, 14, together.
The speculation comes as Melania was pictured this week holding onto a serviceman's arm and not her husband as they arrived at a Veteran's Day ceremony.
The serviceman was holding an umbrella to protect the First Lady from the rain.
It comes after several times during their time in the White House where Melania Trump was seen to refuse her husband's hand.
"Melania is counting every minute until he is out of office and she can divorce," former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman reportedly said.
"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."
Melania could receive a settlement of as much as $US50 million ($A68 million), according to US divorce lawyer Jacqueline Newman, managing partner of Berkman Bottger Newman & Rodd, in an interview with Town and Country.
"I would imagine the payout would be fairly generous," she said.
That figure hinges on whether Melania would get custody of their son, but Ms Newman believes custodial rights would be in Melania's favour.
"It doesn't seem as if there's going to be much question as to who the primary caretaker is," the lawyer said. "My guess is that she would get primary custodial rights and he would get access whenever he happens to be in town."
Donald Trump, who will continue in the President's chair until Mr Biden takes over on January 21, has been married twice previously.
Both of those marriages ended in divorce, with the settlements fought out with prenuptial agreements.
Mr Trump married his first wife Ivanka Trump in 1977, with the couple divorcing in 1992. She reportedly received $US14 million, a mansion in Connecticut, a New York apartment and access to Mar-a-Lago once a year, after contesting the pre-nup in the divorce settlement.
Marla Maples was his second wife, married between 1993 and 1999, and was reportedly given a payout of $US2 million after also contesting the prenuptial.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR MELANIA?
Speculation surrounds whether Melania and Barron will go back to New York so he can return to his former private school in Manhattan, or stay in Washington while he finishes high school in Maryland, not far from the White House.
After January 21, Melania could return to the Trump Tower penthouse in New York City, the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, or head to the Seven Springs estate in Westchester and the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster.
Experts say it could be Florida because she voted in person at Palm Beach County - registered as the Trumps' official residence.
Originally published as Melania's potential huge divorce payout