Some people head into divorce with specific expectations of how things will go. These expectations may come from seeing their friend's divorce play out or seeing their parents go through divorce. Expectations might even be formed by what someone reads online and what they see in movies. There are definitely some things that every person can expect to get from divorce, but it's important to understand what divorce can and cannot do.
A divorce can set support obligations, such as spousal support and child support. It's hard to predict how the court will rule, since a judge can often deviate from standards, but in general these types of payments are often set by state laws. Each couple's individual circumstances will also play a large part in how support obligations are determined.
The divorce process will also set visitation and child custody schedules. While parents can negotiate with each other on this topic, if an agreement is not reached, the court will do its best to rule in a way that is in the best interests of the child. The judge's decision may not always feel fair to both parties, but a judge has limited time to make this decision based on limited knowledge of the inner workings of the family.
Finally, divorce will help two individuals divide their property. Each state is different in how it divides property and a judge's ruling in the matter may not always seem fair or be predictable. Couples are always encouraged to try to agree on property division with the help of their attorneys.
In our next post we will continue this discussion and look at the things a divorce cannot do for splitting couples.