Why more wives should follow the First Lady’s lead

A new book about Melania Trump by a Washington Post reporter made headlines for the salacious details it reveals about the First Lady. Included in “The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump” is a report that she delayed her move to Washington, D.C., from New York after her husband took office to use that as leverage to renegotiate her prenuptial agreement.

Author Mary Jordan cites several people close to Ms. Trump who say that while the president’s assistants were eager for Melania to relocate to Washington because her presence helps keep him calmer, Ms. Trump delayed moving herself and the couple’s son Barron into the White House until she was able to secure increased financial security for her son and her.

Prenuptial Agreements Can Be Revised

It is a good reminder that prenuptial or postnuptial agreements are not written in stone. It is always wise for both parties who are signing a prenuptial agreement to have separate lawyers review the agreement with the intent to protect their client’s interests. However, if it is determined after an agreement is signed and the parties are married, that parts of the agreement should be changed, it is possible to revise it. Of course, both parties must agree to the new terms and sign the new agreement.

Why Changes May Be Necessary

There are many reasons why a prenuptial agreement may be a good idea. A common one is that one party’s financial situation changes. For example, one spouse may bring a small business into a marriage, and the assets and liabilities from that business are addressed in the prenuptial agreement. If the business succeeds beyond anyone’s dreams, the spouse who brought the business into the marriage presumably is making significantly more money. The other spouse may have to quit a job or pass over a promotion in order to allow the business-owning spouse to devote more time to the business.  The original agreement regarding the business likely will need to be amended.

Another common reason why a prenuptial agreement must be amended is because the couple moves to a different state. All states have different guidelines and requirements regarding how prenuptial agreements must be structured. It is important for couples who have moved to be certain their prenup adheres to the laws of their new state.

Also, laws may change that impact a prenuptial agreement. For example, In 2019, court-ordered alimony could no longer be deducted on the income taxes of the person who pays support. This may have unintended consequences for someone who signed a prenuptial agreement prior to 2019.

Know What’s In The Agreement

A person signing a prenuptial agreement should know what they are agreeing to. This typically requires enlisting the help of a knowledgeable family law attorney who can help draft the agreement or review an existing agreement.

That may seem obvious, but Jordan’s book on Melania Trump states that even Donald Trump’s lawyers felt sorry for how little his second wife, Marla Maples, received after their divorce in 1999.

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