Judge Lynn Toler, who presides over the Fox syndicated reality television show Divorce Court, is making an appearance at BEA today. No, she’s not here to scout booksellers to appear on her show; Judge Toler is going to preside over signing ARCs of her August release, Making Marriage Work: New Rules for an Old Institution (Agate). After all, who would know better the rules for a successful marriage than Judge Toler, who has heard sad stories of marital failure from thousands of estranged couples over the years? Even though Judge Toler deals more with warring individuals than blissful lovers, she insists that “people in marriages are looking not to get divorced.” They just need a little advice so they don’t wind up in divorce court or even worse, on Divorce Court.

“There’s a requiem out there. They’re saying marriage is obsolete,” Judge Toler explains, because marriage has changed: women are economically, legally, and socially more independent than ever before, so marriage isn’t as essential to a woman’s survival as it used to be.

The single biggest mistake people make when getting married these days, Judge Toler argues, is basing the decision on the most irrational of criteria: falling in love. Now, don’t get her wrong, Judge Toler is all for love and romance and flowers and Valentine’s Day. Approach marriage, Judge Toler says, with all the dedication and seriousness with which you would approach employment. It might sound trite, but marriage really is work, and your spouse is your co-worker in the job of life.

Her original title of Making Marriage Work was I Already Made That Mistake. After her husband objected about TMI concerning their own marriage in the original draft, she toned it down, but “left in enough details that everyone would get it.”

Judge Toler will be signing at Table 17 in the Autographing Area, 1–2 p.m. She’s also making an appearance on the local Fox TV station (to promote her book).