Storey v. Ward

In Storey v. Ward, 258 Ark. 24, 523 S.W.2d 387 (1995), a divorcing party entered into an agreement under which the husband would pay support to the wife "so long as she shall remain unmarried...." After the wife had twice remarried (during which periods of marriage the husband quit paying support), she petitioned for retroactive support for the periods during which she was married. In discussing the question of the validity of the agreement, Justice George Rose Smith said: In a number of cases, such as Robbins v. Robbins, 231 Ark. 184, 328 S.W.2d 498 (1959), we have said that the duty of child support cannot be bargained away by the parents. That does not mean, however, that the duty of support cannot be affected by the contract. What our cases actually hold is that the duty cannot be bartered away permanently to the detriment of the child. There is certainly no principle of public policy making such a contract absolutely void, because upon remarriage a divorced mother may have no need for child support payments from her former husband, who may himself be destitute. On the other hand, the parents' inability to permanently bargain away the childrens' right to support preserves the court's power to modify the original decree to meet subsequent conditions. (Storey v. Ward, 258 Ark. at 26-27, 523 S.W.2d at 390.)