Washington Divorce Mediation Caucusing: Five Caveats

Last month, we discussed the many benefits of caucusing during divorce mediation. However, caucusing isn’t the right choice for many couples—and many mediators do not use this tool because they believe it negatively affects the mediation process. Here are five downsides to caucusing that you may wish to review before beginning divorce mediation: 

  • Caucusing may eliminate transparency. One reason couples choose mediation over a court divorce is that it is an opportunity to talk openly and honestly to your ex-spouse about the settlement, child custody, and other issues. Some believe that caucusing goes against this major tenant of mediation. 
  • Caucusing could cause bias. When the mediator speaks to one or both parties separately, it is more likely that the mediator could become less than neutral. 
  • Caucusing could create the perception of bias. Even if the mediator is able to remain neutral after a caucus, the other party may believe that the mediator is biased because of information exchanged during the private session. 
  • Caucusing may endanger confidential information. Although the information exchanged during a private caucus is considered confidential (unless discussed otherwise), a mediator may accidentally let information slip or let the information affect the mediation in an unfair or negative way. 
  • Caucusing may hinder direct communication. If both parties are aware that caucusing is an option, they may choose to speak to the mediator instead of opening up during joint sessions. This could slow down the process considerably or simply prevent candid talks. 

Are you in need of legal counsel regarding your Washington divorce mediation? Call the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny: 425-460-0550.

Molly B. Kenny
Founder and Principal Divorce Attorney
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Molly B. Kenny's Bellevue family law office is conveniently located on Lake Bellevue Drive, making it easily accessible to those in the greater Seattle area. Our divorce and child custody lawyers help men and women get the information, guidance, and compassionate representation they need.
Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny