By Isabel Jones
Aug 14, 2018 @ 5:45 pm
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Celebrity couples can be pretty hard to read. After all, we thought Brangelina (and Jenna and Channing, and Jennifer and Justin … ) was forever. But there’s one famous pair whose marital strife can’t be concealed by a perfectly staged red carpet photo or well-placed emoji: President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Though rumors of a divorce or separation have always surrounded the First couple, tensions appeared to mount when porn star Stormy Daniels alleged that Donald had paid her $130,000 to stay silent about a 2006 affair.

And OK, it’s Donald Trump we’re talking about, so that’s hardly his first questionable offense. We’re guessing the whole “grab ‘em by the pussy” narrative didn’t score him any points with Melania. She probably wasn’t crazy about his comments about his eldest daughter's figure, either.

Fueling the constant speculation is a new claim written in former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman’s new memoir, in which she alleges “Melania is counting every minute until [Trump] is out of office and she can divorce him.”

On a scale of one to Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande's engagement, Omarosa's claim barely registers in terms of shock value. But it does prompt us to wonder how an in-office divorce would play out. Ronald Reagan was the first divorced President to take office, but no President in U.S. history has ever undergone a divorce while serving their term.

So, if something happens that pushes Melania, America’s First Lady, that last inch out the White House door, how exactly would that play out? 

First off, it probably won’t come as a big surprise. The days leading up to the President and First Lady’s separation announcement would likely mimic the 24-day period Melania retreated from the public eye. Donald and Melania aren’t exactly skilled at playing happy family — the hand swats have informed us as much — so it makes sense that their ultimate separation would be precipitated by a step backward on her part.

As far as Melania’s post as First Lady goes, her role is completely ceremonial, so there’s no line of succession. Technically, it seems Melania could actually stay on as First Lady following a split from the president, but judging by her reluctance to relocate to Washington in the first place (she spent the first 6 months of her hubby's term in NYC), it’s improbable that she would want that. Trump would likely appoint a close female relative in Melania’s stead (*cough* Ivanka *cough*).

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

As with Trump’s two previous marriages, it’s likely that he and Melania have a pre-nuptial agreement. If this is the case, Melania’s financial gains will be outlined quite precisely, but the presidency will, of course, add some major stakes.

D.C. divorce lawyers Sandy Ain and Cheryl New told the Washingtonian they believed there would be incentive for Trump to sweeten Melania’s deal in the case of separation. I mean, if Stormy Daniels could make $130,000 from her silence, just imagine what damage Trump’s wife of 13 years could do …

“What she would be entitled to, I’m confident, is spelled out pretty carefully,” Ain explained. “Would he be prudent to pay her more than that, for her silence and for the sake of dignity? Very likely.”

New pointed out that negotiations wouldn’t necessarily need to be made after they’d separated, noting that Trump could broker a “post-nup” agreement in exchange for Melania staying with him until the end of his presidency.

RELATED: Melania Trump's Parents Just Became U.S. Citizens Through a Program Condemned by the President

Of course, child support and custody are separate matters which could be argued in court. With Melania as the dominant parent in terms of care, however, it’s likely she’d obtain full custody; Trump would likely spend time with his son back in New York — that is, when he’s not busy kicking up dust in Washington or playing golf.