A classic duel to the death benefit

By Allen Minuskin
|CHRR, Guide to Pensions & Benefits|Last Updated: 12/04/2002

An intriguing battle to claim a share in a benefit payable upon the death of a pension plan member is, hopefully, nearing its end.

Anne Stairs and Roger Mowbray were married in 1961. In 1965, Roger became a member of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and during his career accumulated nearly 30 years of credited service. The couple separated in 1988 and entered into a separation agreement in 1990.

One of the provisions in the separation agreement was to provide Stairs with a percentage share of a death benefit if one became payable from the plan, even if there was another surviving spouse. As it turned out, there was another surviving spouse, Catherine Mowbray, who entered into the equation when she married Roger in 1992.