I recently went out with a group of 12 or 14, and yes we all got separate checks. The waitress was horrified to see a gratuity on them, as apparently the policy at that restaurant is to usually charge a large-party gratuity when it's one large bill, and as she distributed our bills she apologized and told us to feel free to mark it out and leave whatever tip we felt like leaving.
Not surprisingly, as she'd been amazing all night, most of us opted to leave the tip on there and a few left a little extra on the table.
If she hadn't been helpful or chatty, or had got confused about "Who had this?" on every order, and left us all with empty glasses the full time, and then silently handed out an auto gratuity, I have a feeling we'd have marked it out and left less. There really are ways to work within the system to make everybody happy.