EP: 041



Most people think of mediation as compromise, but Gary Friedman sees it differently. In his view, the process is a negotiation. Rather than competing over assets, the divorcing partners identify what they need to move forward and then find the best way to divide or allocate resources accordingly. Yes, there will be disagreements, but if you can turn around your impulse to see each other as enemies, there are ways of cooperating that produce results that are better for both parties.

Gary has been teaching mediation since the 1980’s, training lawyers, law professors, judges and psychotherapists in the mediative approach to collaborative practice in the US, Europe and Israel. He is the co-founder of the Center for Mediation in Law, and he has taught courses in negotiation and mediation at prestigious institutions such as Stanford University, Harvard Law School, and the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva. Gary is the author of several seminal works in the field of conflict resolution, including A Guide to Divorce Mediation, Challenging Conflict, and Inside Out.

Today, Gary joins Katherine to share how mediation empowers separating partners to make their own decisions, putting the people who will live with the consequences in charge of decision-making. He offers his take on mediation as a negotiation, explaining the mediator’s role in helping people keep a focus on what’s really important to them and make decisions together. Gary speaks to the value in having both partners in the room during the mediation process and the power in providing a ‘fair witness’ both parties can trust. Listen in for Gary’s insight on rejecting the cultural mythology around hating your ex and crafting solutions that benefit everyone involved.

Topics Covered

How mediation allows separating partners to make their own decisions

Gary’s insight on the fears around not being able to work together

The mediator’s role in helping people stay focused on what’s important

The cultural mythology around turning your ex into an enemy

Gary’s take on mediation as a negotiation rather than a compromise

The value in dividing and allocating assets based on individual needs

How to talk through disagreements in a way that moves you forward

The necessity of having both partners in same room during mediation

How honest, open conversation facilitates great relief and healing

The courage it takes to work through conflict together

The difference between agreeing and understanding in joint decision-making

The power in having a ‘fair witness’ that both partners feel comfortable with

How Gary’s quest to find a different way to be a lawyer led him to mediation

Gary’s discovery that there is no set definition of what a ‘good marriage’ looks like


Center for Understanding in Conflict

Email gary@understandinginconflict.org


A Guide to Divorce Mediation: How to Reach a Fair, Legal Settlement at a Fraction of the Cost by Gary J. Friedman

Inside Out: How Conflict Professionals Can Use Self-Reflection to Help Their Clients by Gary Friedman

Challenging Conflict: Mediation Through Understanding by Gary Friedman and Jack Himmelstein


The Center for Understanding Conflict
Miller Law Group
Katherine on LinkedIn