There are established laws and rules that determine how your divorce is handled. When you decide to divorce, you need to keep this in mind. You will not, after all is said and done feel you got a "fair" divorce settlement. Unless both sides decide to play fair.
You will get as close to fair as the Family Court system is able to give but unlike "love and war," all is not fair in divorce if you don't choose fairness. If you are unable to or, refuse to negotiate, decisions made during your divorce won't be dependent on what you want or what a judge thinks you should have but, on those pre-existing laws and divorce cases that came before yours.
Depending on what state you live in marital property will be split equitably or as community property.
"Community Property," means that both husband and wife obtain one-half interest in any property acquired during the marriage. For instance, a married couple with children buys a home. They live in the home for 12 years before the divorce. During that 12 year period the wife is a stay at home mother, the husband works and pays all mortgage payments and upkeep on the home.
At the time of the divorce, although she has not contributed financially the wife will be awarded half of the interest/equity in the home. In such a situation it is easy to see how a husband might view that as unfair.
"Equitable Distribution," is very tricky because it takes into account the financial needs of each spouse when dividing marital assets. You can take the same case above and come out with a wildly different outcome.
If a wife has stayed home, raised the children and put her career on hold, under equitable distribution laws she could end up with all interest in the home. There could be an order of spousal support due to the fact that she has no marketable skills in which to work and provide for herself.
Imagine working for years to provide your family with a home to only end up divorced with nothing to show for your efforts. Not exactly what some would call fair.
The good news? You will come closer to "fair" if you don't allow the anger and resentment you feel to control how you behave during the divorce process. Fair divorce settlements are possible for those who are able to take into consideration not only their needs and desires but those of all involved in the process.