Not all divorce mediations involve caucusing—and not all divorce mediators handle caucusing in the same way. In fact, during your mediation sessions, you may encounter one or more different types of caucusing. Here are four common types of caucusing, as well as how and why they are used by mediators:
- Pre-caucusing. Although not common, some mediators like to meet separately with both parties before joint mediation begins. In some cases, these caucuses take place on separate days from each other and from the first joint meeting. These caucuses serve to give the mediator a balanced and in-depth idea of the wishes and needs of both parties before speaking with everyone as a group.
- Shuttle caucusing. This is the most extreme form of caucusing, in which a mediator shuttles constantly between rooms in a series of separate caucuses, delivering messages and counter offers. This type of caucusing may be best in high-conflict divorce cases where emotions run high or in cases with a possible history of domestic violence.
- Party-requested caucusing. During a mediation session, one of the parties may need to request a caucus with the mediator. These sessions could take place for a number of reasons: the party may need time to vent, the party may need to share confidential information with the mediator, or the party may need information or advice from the mediator regarding a settlement.
- Mediator-requested caucusing. A mediator may also call a caucus, for a variety of reasons. In some cases, a mediator may simply wish to pause the conversation because emotions are running too high. In other cases, a mediator may wish to collect confidential information that may lead to a compromise or deal.
Be sure to ask your mediator about his or her caucusing policies before your mediation sessions begins, as well as what these caucuses (or lack of caucuses) are meant to accomplish.
If you are considering mediation for your divorce, you may wish to have a Seattle family law attorney on your side throughout the process. At the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny, we have the knowledge, experience, and credentials to help. Call us today to connect with one of our lawyers: 425-460-0550.