Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Goal of Divorce Mediation?

The goal is to peaceably resolve the issues that must be worked out before an agreement is final. This would include developing a parenting plan if there are minor children, resolving how your property (assets and liabilities) is to be divided or allocated, and resolving any issues of financial support. Mediation allows each of you to decide the best way for the two of you to come to an agreement about these things; Rob Ketcham, serving as an impartial mediator, does not decide anything, but helps the two of you to engage in the necessary conversations with each other to come to an agreement about all the issues.

What takes place during a mediation session? *

Orientation session. After Rob receives a call asking about mediation he sets up an appointment for the prospective clients to come to his office for an orientation session which is done at no charge. Rob feels it is important to take some time up front to explain how the process works, and get to know each other a little bit. After 30 to 45 minutes, Rob then asks the people who have come in if they would like to make a commitment to begin mediation with Rob or would prefer to think about it further. If the decision is to begin mediation that day, then the remaining part of the two hours is spent getting started.

Early in the Mediation. Rob regularly asks to see the clients separately at this stage of the process so that they can meet with him to tell their story and not feel that they must tailor it for the other person in the room. Some folks just wish to get started and do not feel they need to take this time, and as always, the mediation is designed to operate on the principle of what the clients would like, so we just get started.

Memo at the end of each session. Rob prepares a memorandum at the conclusion of each session. The memorandum contains a listing of the decisions reached during the session and a brief description for each. It also contains the topics that were discussed but not resolved. Furthermore, it lists the outstanding issues that have not yet been addressed or resolved and the homework for each person between sessions. Finally, it contains an appreciation each gave at the end of the session for the work of the other—the way that Rob ends each mediation session. A copy of the memo is sent to each person in a day or so after the past session, and sometimes it is e-mailed to them. There is no additional charge for the memorandum; it is included in the fee.

How long does mediation take?

Each case is unique so there are many variables. Having said that, Rob thinks that most cases involving separation and divorce should be able to be completed in three to seven sessions. However, in the past two years he has done a few that took less than three sessions, and two that required multiple sessions and took more than a year to complete. Another way of stating the goal is to help you work out a lasting agreement while spending only as much time as necessary and no more. The goal is to get you out and in a better place, rather than replowing the same old ground.

What happens after the issues are resolved?

Once the issues are resolved Rob usually prepares a draft agreement which incorporates the separate decisions which produces a document that the clients or an attorney can file with the court. Since he has set out the decisions in the session memorandums he can usually prepare an agreement in two hours or less. The fee for the agreement is based on the hourly rate. One the agreement is drafted the clients schedule a session to review the draft agreement, which is done at no charge. The clients sit and review the agreement. If there are additional issues that need resolution, the mediation begins at that point. Otherwise, the parties can make their changes and give them to Rob who incorporates them at no additional charge.

*This page explains how private cases are treated. Cases coming from court referrals use an abbreviated format.