Lynn Toler was born on October 25, 1959. After working as a lawyer concentrating on civil cases, Toler served for eight years as the only municipal judge in Cleveland Heights Municipal Court. She was a Republican running in a district that was primarily Democratic and won her first judicial contest by a mere six votes. Her cases involved all misdemeanor crimes, traffic, and nominal cost civil cases within an inner-ring suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, of about 50,000 residents. Toler was renowned for upholding unconventional verdicts, such as those based on handwritten writings. She founded and oversaw a mentorship program for adolescent females while she was still occupying the bench. In 2002, she received the ‘Humanitarian of the Year Award’ from the Cleveland Domestic Violence Center.
Ohio’s Columbus is where Lynn Toler was born. After graduating from Columbus School for Girls, Toler received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1984 and a bachelor of arts in American and English literature from Harvard College in 1981.
When Toler took on the role of arbitrating judge for “Divorce Court,” the longest-running court show and one of the longest-running syndicated shows, she enjoyed far better success within the court show genre. After the 24th season of the court program debuted on September 11, 2006, Toler took over the bench, replacing Mablean Ephriam, whom Toler liked and got along well with.
She boosted her television profile in 2007 while presenting “Divorce Court,” becoming the host of the prime-time and couples counseling program “Decision House” on MyNetworkTV. She joined the team as co-executive producer of the 2009 syndicated limited-city series “Wedlock or Deadlock,” inspired by a scene from “Divorce Court.” Toler contributed bi-monthly to News and Notes, a weekly news program on National Public Radio, in 2008 and 2009.
In her book “My Mother’s Rules: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Emotional Genius,” Toler explains the lessons her mother, Shirley, taught her to deal with both her father Bill Toler’s erratic behavior and her inner demons. She explains how this eventually proved helpful while handling emotional people sitting on the bench. She also goes through how to put these ideas into practice in daily life. Her second book, “Put It in Writing,” which she co-wrote with Deborah Hutchison, was released in 2009. This book includes agreements for use in everyday yet awkward circumstances involving family and friends, such as giving money and grown children visiting their parents.
After graduating from Columbus School for Girls, Toler attends Harvard College and obtains a bachelor's degree in English and American literature.
As the first judge over the unconventional courtroom series "Power of Attorney," Toler takes Andrew Napolitano's seat, but the sitcom only runs for two seasons.
She receives the Cleveland Domestic Violence Center's ‘Humanitarian of the Year Award.’
Toler expands her television career resume while presenting "Divorce Court" by anchoring the prime-time program and MyNetworkTV's “Decision House,” a couples therapy program.
After 14 years and seasons, Toler leaves "Divorce Court."
Why We Love Lynn Toler
“Divorce Court” gets pretty dramatic sometimes, but if there’s one thing that lightens things up, it’s humor! Toler knew how to make fun of herself or poke fun at someone else — and it always made us laugh!
She's tough but fair
She doesn't play favorites on the show. She comes across as harsh but fair and always ensures both parties get their say — even if they're being unreasonable or rude. She knows how to keep people in line without being mean or condescending to them.
She looks good at all times
She knows how to wear a dress. “Divorce Court” was filmed in front of an audience, so Toler had to look good. She always looks great on camera!
5 Surprising Facts
She’s a real judge
The judges in most television courtroom plays are arbitrators rather than actual judges, but Lynn Toler is a real American Judge.
“Divorce Court” helped her Marriage
Things didn't improve in Toler’s home until she applied to her marriage the principles she had learned from “Divorce Court.”
An avid advocate against domestic violence
Domestic violence prevention efforts at the local and national levels were and are actively supported by Judge Toler.
She has authored four books
In addition to being an arbitrator, judge, attorney, and television host, Toler is a writer, having successfully published four novels.
She’s a mother of six
Toler and her husband, Eric Mumford, have two sons and four stepsons.
Lynn Toler FAQs
Is “Divorce Court” real?
The show includes actual individuals and actual cases, such as divorce court hearings and other domestic issues.
Where is “Divorce Court” filmed?
The program airs on Peachtree T.V. in Atlanta and is produced in Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Midtown studios.
Is Judge Lynn Toler retired?
For 14 years, Toler, a former lawyer who became a judge, presided over the reality series “Divorce Court,” before she chose to hang up her gavel in May 2020.
Lynn Toler’s birthday dates