Are you and your mate compatible? While many people believe divorce lawyers deal only with failed marriages, in fact, the typical family law attorney sees clients interacting at various stages - from courtship to breakup and beyond. Familiarity with interpersonal relations creates a heightened awareness of what works and what doesn't between spouses.
The "Rate Your Mate Divorce Quiz" is a multi-part test based on the author's experience as a divorce lawyer. The test highlights key areas such as mutual respect, common interests, children, money, and personal safety. While the test is not scientific, it deals with issues most couples face. The results can help you determine the odds of maintaining a strong, healthy relationship.
Each section is scored individually. After rating each question, total your score for that section. A sum over 50% of the possible total indicates a favorable rating in that category. Refer to the corresponding Comments for the 50% threshold.
Comments: Highest score is 56; a score of 29 is over 50%.
Fairness means each partner does something that enhances the couple's lifestyle: each receives the benefits of their joint efforts. Over time, one partner may begin to do more or less than the other, which results in resentment and discontent.
Like any human enterprise, a division of labor within the family makes sense. In strong relationships both partners value the other's contributions. In weak relationships, one partner overvalues his or her contribution and devalues the contributions of the partner.
Recent research by sociologist Terri Orbuch suggests that divorce is less likely for men who receive positive affirmations from their wives such as "I love you" or "You're important to me." Wives who lacked affirmations from their husbands did not carry the same risk of divorce. Ms. Orbuch reasoned that women's more extensive networks provided affirmations lacking from marital partners.
Comments: Highest score is 76; a score of 39 is over 50%.
Some experts believe common interests and values are vitally important to the success of a marriage. Others contend that communication styles are even more important. For example, if both partners communicate well, and are able to validate the other's thoughts and feelings, their relationship has a good chance of surviving, in contrast to a marriage between one spouse that argues passionately and another who retreats into silence: resulting in failed communication.
Ms. Orbuch's research suggests that couples who use constructive styles of conflict resolution are more likely to stay together. Aggressive behavior and shouting matches contribute to the risk of divorce, unless both parties like to argue heatedly, according to John Gottman of the Gottman Institute.
As far as divorce is concerned. The way spouses handle conflict plays a huge role in a divorce case. It may mean the difference between a very expensive, drawn-out court battle and a much easier mediated divorce or collaborative divorce.
Comment: Highest score is 56; a score of 29 is over 50%.
As far as divorce is concerned. When parents break up, issues with children can be very contentious. Issues of child custody, visitation rights and child support obligations make a divorce all the more complicated.
Comments: Highest score is 24; a score of 13 is over 50%.
As far as divorce is concerned. Differences in financial outlook (and knowledge of financial assets) can lead to disputes over marital property at divorce or even hiding money or income from the other spouse.
Comments: Highest score is 36; a score of 19 is over 50%.
Research shows that people who come from divorced families and those surrounded by divorced colleagues and friends are more likely to divorce.
Comments: Highest score is 40; a score of 21 is over 50%.
Problems of domestic violence are a very important measure of any relationship. If personal safety or physical and emotional health are threatened, other aspects of a relationship, such as common interests and money matters become far less important. If you're in an abusive relationship and need help, please visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline's website, or contact them at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
This test contains many of the same questions lawyers ask clients in order to evaluate a divorce case. Of course, a thorough legal analysis goes well beyond the scope of "Rate Your Mate Divorce Quiz." This quiz is nothing more than a tool you can use to ask yourself some important questions about your relationship, and take some time to really consider your answers. You may feel completely secure in your marriage, regardless of this quiz, or it may help you identify some areas that need to be addressed.
If you're thinking about divorce, but don't know where to begin, you may want to review the family and divorce law information on www.divorcenet.com, or set up a consultation with a family law attorney in your area.
Sharyn Sooho is a family trial lawyer experienced in identifying hidden assets, winning custody, and maximizing alimony. Concentrating in divorce matters, Ms. Sooho received her her J.D. degree from Boston University School of Law.