By Rachel M. Anderson, Freelance Writer
(White Bear Lake, MN) - Divorce is on the rise, not just in the Twin Cities but throughout the nation. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau statistics, just under 50 percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. Put another way, an estimated 1.1 million marriages are destined for breakdown this year. But that is not the tragedy.
The tragedy, according to Rev. Doctor Jeffrey Dorman, is when an embattled litigation process further damages people who are already hurting. “Battling out a divorce in an adversarial manner sets people up for relational failure after the divorce is final. I believe our goal should be to do everything possible to promote healthy individuals and healthy families after the divorce,” he says. “Mediation to solve conflict collaboratively and out of court is clearly a superior option. It leaves people psychologically healthier, emotionally happier and financially more stable.”
This realization prompted Pastor Dorman to try and help people in a new way, but how? During his career with the church, Pastor Dorman had functioned as a successful family mediator on countless occasions. “People often bring conflicts to their pastor and ask for help, so pursuing a career in mediation is the next logical step at this point in my life,” he says.
After nearly 25 years devoted to helping people as a parish pastor, Dorman studied mediation at Hamline University School of Law. He is now a MN Rule 114 qualified neutral mediator for family, community and general/civil situations. He is also equipped as a parenting time expeditor, parenting consultant and social early neutral evaluator.
After receiving education, Dorman gained valuable experience in the field through his volunteer work at the Conflict Resolution Center (CRC) in Minneapolis, a non-profit that since 1983 has been helping the people resolve their differences. According to the Karmit Bulman, Executive Director of the CRC, Dorman’s service to the organization has been invaluable.
“It is very helpful having someone with Jeff’s background work as a mediator. He has tremendous people skills, is a very likeable person and he’s the kind of person who empowers others to do their best. He’s really all about helping people come up with their own solutions,” she says.
Dorman has mediated a wide variety of cases at the CRC, including post divorce parenting and financial issues, restorative justice cases with juveniles, landlord/tenant disputes and business contract conflicts. “I get a lot of satisfaction out of helping people resolve conflict,” he says.
The CRC isn’t the only place Dorman’s services are available. In 2010 he launched his own mediation service. Dorman Mediation LLC offers family, marriage, divorce, co-parenting and other mediation services. The company’s office is near 35E and County Road 96 in the Westin Woods Office Park in White Bear Township.
Dorman has also joined Your Divorce Professionals, www.yourdivorceprofessionals.com, a company that prides itself on providing superior divorce guidance and effective resolution of parenting issues. Dorman’s partners, Jeff Johnson, Amber Serwat and Jill Goldstein provide divorce mediation services to clients in the North, South and West Metro, while Dorman’s practice covers the East.
“Some people may think it’s unusual that I’ve gone from officiating marriages to helping negotiate divorces,” says Dorman. “But I don’t see it that way. As a mediator, what I’m actually doing is helping people walk a healthier path to their future despite the marital split.”
“Jeff carries a wonderful passion for interpersonal relationships. I know he’s going to be a great mediator,” says Dr. Mark Herringshaw, a colleague who served alongside Dorman for over a decade in a local congregation.
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