A Peaceful Future Is A Gift

How can private caucuses help the mediation process?

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Divorce |

People often assume that to be able to get a mediated divorce, they have to be able to sit in a conference room day after day with their spouse for hours on end negotiating the various divorce agreements. That can feel like torture for those who may barely be on speaking terms or who can’t spend long together without snapping at each other. It can end up creating even more conflict between spouses who need to negotiate the terms of their divorce.

In fact, you can use caucuses as needed throughout the mediation process to work through your agreements. These allow each spouse to meet separately with the mediator. Caucus mediation is sometimes referred to as “shuttle” mediation since the mediator shuttles back and forth between the two parties with requirements and offers made by each. 

Some advantages of caucuses

In many cases, couples only need to use private caucuses when and if a matter becomes particularly heated. If a couple is no longer making any progress discussing something, it can be beneficial for everyone if the mediator moves to caucuses, at least until a specific issue is resolved.

Caucuses allow spouses to share things with the mediator they don’t want to say in front of their spouse because it will likely upset or anger them. It’s important to know that anything you say to a mediator in a private caucus is confidential unless you give them permission to share it with your spouse.

Being able to talk privately with the mediator also helps people feel more free to suggest things they might not in front of their spouse because they know they’ll reject with immediately. By getting some distance from their spouse, they can also feel more relaxed and be able to think and speak without worrying about their spouse’s negative reaction.

Finding the mediation strategy that works best for you

The bulk of the mediation process can be private caucuses that involve the mediator taking turns meeting with each spouse. However, that’s not as common in divorce cases as in other types of mediation.

There’s no one-size-fits-all type of mediation. Different mediation strategies work for different couples, and what works one day may not work the next. What’s important is to determine whether you and your spouse can commit to making it work and then finding a mediator you both trust.