In her new book, Michele Lowrance, a domestic relations judge who has gone through a divorce herself, draws from her personal and professional experiences to guide her readers through the steps necessary to achieve a "Good Karma Divorce."
After reading the excerpt below, head to the "GMA" Library to find more good reads.
How did I end up in this nightmare? I am a stranger to these dark emotions now living inside me. Who am I? When did I cross over the line, and will I ever cross back?
From across the bench I hear the whispers from their hearts. Beneath the fluorescent glare, the parties appear hostile, their arms tightly folded as if in straitjackets. A deputy stands behind them, menacingly, with a gun. These two people, who had once flirted, courted, and exchanged wedding vows, now seem to regard each other as kryptonite. I can see their hands trembling; my black robe often has that effect. Each comes to court with an agenda. Each seems determined to achieve vindication by convincing me of the other's loathsomeness. Then, and only then, can they ensure that the court punishes the guilty party for the personal wreckage they suffered. With the steam of hatred coming off their bodies like smoke from a greasy hamburger, they will attempt to raise children together.
I have been a judge in Domestic Relations Court in Chicago since 1995. For two decades prior to that I had sharpened my skills as a divorce attorney, but then I gave up being a warrior for the "right side," because it became clear to me that there was no right side in a divorce. Like "an eye for an eye," the only thing that happened in the end was that everyone was left with no eyes. As a survivor of divorce, my goal was to get through to this couple, and the thousands just like them, before they took the next step forward. How could I implore them to alter their perception of their divorce and of each other? Was there a way to restructure this heartbreaking life template that was being continually played out before me? If I could answer these questions, their lives might be affected positively. After years of experience, the answers to these questions have come into sharp focus, and the results are more profound than I could have ever expected.
What did I want for this couple? I wanted them—a husband and wife who had damaged each other, who had even devastated each other—to realize their anger would destroy them and infect every aspect of their future. I wanted them both to realize that this was what was happening. It finally struck me: they did not yet realize this. They had no idea of the extent to which their anger and resentment would injure those around them, as it damaged their own hearts, souls, and destinies. They had relinquished their strength by relying only on their attorneys and the court system to determine their future, oblivious to their own power over this potentially treacherous divorce process. There, in that forty-foot-square courtroom, this couple would either fuse with their anger, resentment, and bitterness or follow a path leading to peace through wisdom, understanding, and eventually forgiveness. They were facing a fork in the road that would change their lives forever.