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Family firm suggests 'compatibility quiz' for couples contemplating marriage

6 January 2011

A leading family law firm is encouraging couples thinking about getting married to complete “a compatibility quiz” before taking the plunge.

Ruth Bross, partner of Highgate firm Bross Bennett, said: “No employer would offer someone a job without considering their suitability for that position and neither should a couple embark on a lifelong commitment without doing their research.

“Successful relationships are built on honesty, and deceit on any scale is a betrayal of that basic principle. There is little point in building a future with someone if they are not prepared to be truthful.

“No one who is truly committed to a relationship will ever mind making the full and frank disclosure that is asked of them; if they do, you might like to ask yourself why.”

As Will and Kate announce their plans for a buffet rather than a sit-down dinner, and a car rather than a carriage, we advise them to test themselves in the following way:

Financial stuff

Do you know the extent of each other’s assets? How do you both view the sharing of these assets?

Do you have the same attitude to saving? Will one of you want to put into a pension what the other wants to put into a new car?

Will you pool your resources or do you want to keep everything separate? Joint accounts or separate? Will you contribute in proportion to your incomes, or equally?

Debts – are you going to have to pay off your partner’s debts perhaps from what you thought was going to be the deposit on your house?

Family ties

What sort of relationship do you have with your extended family? Are they good at staying in touch? Are they local? Affectionate? Over-involved? Have you had any major fallings out?

Children

Do you want children? How many?

How do you want to raise your children? What sort of values do you want to pass on?

Do you have opposing views about the benefits of state versus private education – and should you be thinking now about buying in a catchment area for a good state school?

Religion

What are your religious views – do you agree on what religion you will bring up the children? Church/mosque/synagogue? Once a week or once a year? Or no religion at all?

Leisure and fun

Do you like doing the same things in your spare time? Do you share common interests? Is your idea of a holiday lying flat on the beach for two weeks and your partner’s rock climbing in Snowdonia?

Lifestyle

What sort of lifestyle are you aiming for?

Where do you want to live? Do either of you have a dream of downsizing at some point and living away from the city?

Spend rate – do you have an expensive shoe or gadget habit? Does one of you think of a particular purchase as an essential that the other regards as a 'discretionary spend'?

Do you have any other secret addictions – handbags, chocolate, football, porn?

Do you gamble – online or otherwise?

Work

Career plans. Are your respective career paths compatible – is either of you going to have to make compromises? Are you prepared to?

Will you want to give up work when you have children? What does your partner think about this and can you manage financially? What about part-time working?

Roles – traditional or modern?

Will you expect to live along traditional lines – woman as homemaker and man as breadwinner? Who will organise the finances? Will household responsibilities be shared equally? Who will assume responsibility for paying bills?

Honesty

Are there any old flames for whom you still hold a candle?

The quiz was devised by Ruth Bross and fellow partner Sharon Bennett.

Categorised in:

Marriage & Civil partnership Tax & Wealth structuring Local government