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In The Birdcage, Armand makes a comment to Katherine that he got his son as a "trade" for giving Katherine money to start her business.

Armand: you've done well.

Katherine: Because of you. The money you gave me started this place. You should have gotten stock for it.

Armand: I got Val for it. It was a fair trade.

Did Armand really give Katherine money for full custody and parental rights of Val?

Later in this conversation, Katherine admits to not being maternal, so she wouldn't have wanted Val to begin with.

I haven't done much for him in the last 20 years. I'm not exactly maternal.

Why did Armand have to give her money if she didn't want Val in the first place?

  • It's less about whether she really wanted to be a mother, as much as knowing that, if he DID want to be a or the parent, and she's legally entitled to equal custody, then that's something they don't need to "give" away. Divorces can be really, really ugly. – PoloHoleSet Nov 27 '17 at 20:32
  • Damn, I'm thinking of Ms Doubtfire! I'm going to delete almost all of my comments.... – PoloHoleSet Nov 28 '17 at 14:33
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I don't think there was a formal agreement or even any intent of a trade - it's just when Katherine and Armand went there separate ways it ended up that Katherine got the money/business, and Armand got Val. "It was a fair trade" is being used figuratively - Armand feels he did well by taking full custody of Val.

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