Rate Your Mate: The Divorce & Compatibility Test

This test, put together by an experienced divorce attorney, offers some insight into what makes a relationship stick.

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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.

I. Everyday Actions

Does your mate:


Remember your birthday and special events

Know your favorite color, food, movies, and similar preferences

Compliment your appearance

Say "I love you"

Smile when you enter a room

Run errands for you

Eat a meal with you once a day

Prepare a meal for you

Take you to a favorite restaurant

Plan a special day with you

Call you when away from home for more than a day

Do a fair share of household chores

Tell you when something upsets him or her

Laugh at your jokes

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.

II. Mutual Respect and Common Interests

Does your mate:


Treat you respectfully

Speak highly of you to other people

Include you in conversations when talking to other people

Refrain from using profanity when arguing with you

Speak truthfully, not hurtfully

Talk with you before making social plans

Listen when you talk

Share feelings, ideas, and information freely

Show an interest in activities you like

Spend at least 5 minutes a day talking to you

Share a favorite book, TV program, interest, or activity

Invite you to join in his/her activities

Accept your refusal to join in his/her activities

Share similar religious and/or political beliefs

Tolerate your religious and/or political beliefs if different

Share similar attitudes about sex and fidelity

Share a similar style of communication
(e.g., avoidance, argumentative, etc.)

Join same religious, cultural, social, or athletic organizations

Travel/vacation with you for pleasure

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.

III. Children

Does your mate:


Share an interest in raising children

Support you when you discipline the children

Get up in the middle of the night to comfort the child

Leave work to care for a sick child

Change diapers

Feed the children

Drive children to and from their activities

Stay familiar with children's teachers, doctors, friends, activities

Attend parent-teacher meetings

Participate in choosing schools and health care providers

Oversee children's homework

Attend children's routine medical appointments

Welcome your children from a prior relationship into your home

Treat your children as he would his/her own

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.

IV. Money

Does your mate:


Spend sensibly

Pay a fair share of expenses

Plan for your financial security

Share similar attitudes about money and finances

Encourage/maintain joint financial accounts

Insist on openness in dealing with finances

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.

V. Friends/Family and Work/Career

Does your mate:


Come from an intact family

Have friends or coworkers who demonstrate strong relationships

Support your relationship with your friends and family

Share holidays with his/her family and yours

Stay neutral in dealing with your former mate

Encourage your work and career

Entertain your clients, customers, coworkers, and supervisors

Work a reasonable amount

Maintain a steady job

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.

VI. Health and Personal Safety

Does your mate:


Use alcohol in moderation

Refrain from high-risk behavior

Take appropriate care of his/her health

Demonstrate impulse control

Take an interest in your health

Make you feel safe

Control his/her anger and emotions

Refrain from threatening you, a loved one, or a pet

Like you

Make you happy

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.

About the Author

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.

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