Caucus in Divorce Mediation: Why You Might Decide Against It

Man with a whiteboardFor some couples, divorce mediation represents an excellent opportunity to gain more control over your divorce. With mediation, you can avoid the stress and headache of litigation, or presenting your case in court. In the right circumstances, working with the right divorce mediator, like Mr. Darren M. Shapiro could also mean that you feel more comfortable and confident with the outcomes of your divorce. However, it's worth noting that mediation doesn't just come in one style or format. There are many kinds of mediation available in New York today, and you'll need to determine which one is right for you before you begin your journey.

One option that parties may want to consider when they begin their divorce mediation experience is "caucusing." Divorce mediators can offer clients the option to meet with mediators privately during negotiation sessions. These "caucusing" moments aren't intended to give one party more support or guidance than the other. Instead, these moments are often useful for people who need help with things like controlling their emotions during mediation, or simply venting their frustrations with a divorce mediator. However, not everyone will want to pursue the idea of caucusing in mediation. Some people feel as though these separate conversations with a mediator lead to feelings of stress and suspicion, rather than making each client feel more comfortable. If you're worried about what the other party in your divorce is talking about behind closed doors, then caucusing may not be the right choice.

Considering Caucusing in Divorce Mediation

As noted by Steven Leigh in this article on caucusing, the option to add caucus sessions to mediation was originally introduced into family law to give parties a chance to take a break from the joint conversation. There are times during a mediation discussion where parties may feel that they need time to regroup and regain their bearings. People can also use mediation as an opportunity to discuss their ideas with a mediator, before bringing potential negotiation strategies up in front of an ex-spouse. This ensures that clients don't show their hand too early during the negotiation.

However, it's worth noting that divorce mediation is a process that often works best when people feel comfortable and safe. Mr. Shapiro always strives to create a neutral environment for his clients where each party can discuss their issues safely and pursue outcomes that they both can live with. In some cases, when caucusing is permitted, one party may feel that the other is getting extra help behind closed doors. While this is never the case, divorce mediation can't happen successfully when one party doesn't trust their mediator.

According to the Balance SMB, caucus can be a sort of "time out" for people who need a break from their meditation sessions. In this case, the caucus can be an opportunity for the individuals involved in divorce mediation to take a moment and clear their minds before continuing with a negotiation. Additionally, these sessions are also valuable opportunities for parties to discuss their concerns with people like Darren Shapiro, and air their frustrations about the other party without causing additional arguments or allowing emotions to run too high. However, while caucusing does have the potential to help parties control emotions in divorce, it can also lead to negative feelings when people are suspicious of what the other party is talking about.

Is Caucusing Necessary in Divorce Mediation?

In any mediation session that Mr. Shapiro has with his clients, he will always explain the steps that can be taken during the mediation, to ensure that he has the full approval of both parties. Nothing will happen behind closed doors, or behind the scenes. Instead, Mr. Shapiro ensures that the process is as clear and transparent as possible, even when caucusing takes place. Whatever the two parties agree to do in their mediation, each stage will be discussed, managed, and understood, before caucusing begins. Mr. Shapiro explains this to his clients to help them better understand what his role is as a mediator, so that they can decide what form of mediation is right for them.

When clients can understand that Mr. Shapiro's role as a mediator is purely neutral, they may feel more comfortable with the idea of caucusing sessions. They know that there's nothing to be nervous or suspicious about. In some cases, these clients may even see caucusing as a great opportunity to take a break from the divorce process for a moment and cool down. However, there will be people out there who feel uncomfortable about the idea of caucusing for any part of the mediation experience. For these individuals, the best option is often to keep things out in the open, even if this means that all of their emotions are aired in front of the other party.

Mr. Shapiro offers his clients the choice to caucus if they want to so that they can decide which option is right for them. However, he also outlines that it's possible to proceed without caucusing too. If his clients feel that the neutrality, they think that their mediation will be harmed by caucusing, Mr. Shapiro will often recommend continuing without those sessions. These parties will then have the option to use review attorneys as sources of guidance and assistance when they need to discuss things outside of the negotiation sessions. Mr. Shapiro always recommends using review attorneys, with or without caucusing.

Choosing your Divorce Mediation Route

Although there are many forms of mediation available today, it's worth noting that mediation always works best when both parties feel comfortable with the process and feel that they can trust the mediator leading their discussion. Caucusing can only be useful if it continues to preserve that feeling of trust. It's up to you to determine if mediation with caucusing is right for you or not. If you'd like to explore your options, you can contact Mr. Shapiro today for your free consultation of up to 30 minutes. You can contact Mr. Shapiro’s office today at 516-333-6555. Couples that wish to use Darren as their divorce mediator will need to attend their free initial consultation together.

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