|Born||Lynn Candace Toler
October 25, 1959
|Occupation||Judge for Divorce Court|
Early life and education
Toler is a native of Columbus, Ohio. She earned an undergraduate degree in English and American Literature from Harvard University (1981) and a Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Law School (1984).
Toler served as sole municipal judge in Cleveland Heights Municipal Court for eight years after working as an attorney specializing in civil matters. At 34 years old, she won her first judicial race by just 6 votes in a predominantly Democratic district as a Republican, where Democrats held 5:1 majority. Her cases involved all misdemeanor crimes, traffic, and minor cost civil cases within an inner ring suburb of Cleveland, Ohio of about 50,000 residents. When re-elected in 2000 she garnered 80% of the vote. Toler was known for enforcing nontraditional judgments, such as hand written essays. While on the bench she created and ran a mentoring program for teenaged girls. During this time, she served on many boards including The Juvenile Diabetes Board, The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and The Cleveland Domestic Violence Center. In 2002, she received The Humanitarian of the Year Award from The Cleveland Domestic Violence Center.
While serving as a retired judge between 2001 and 2006, Toler became an adjunct professor at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio where she created, and taught, courses on Civil Rights Law and Women's Rights.
As the level-headed arbiter of Divorce Court, Toler is usually seen providing counsel, words of wisdom, and trying to talk sense into the show's outrageous couples. She has a strident vocal timbre and uses emphasis in much of her speech. Prior to becoming the arbitrator of Divorce Court, she hosted the short-lived court show Power of Attorney. In 2007, while hosting Divorce Court, she expanded her television presence by becoming the host of the prime time television show and MyNetworkTV's Decision House. In 2008 and 2009, Toler was a bi-monthly contributor on News and Notes, a weekly news show on National Public Radio (NPR). In 2009, she became a co-executive producer of Wedlock or Deadlock, a syndicated limited-city series based on a segment of Divorce Court.
Toler is the author of My Mother's Rules: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Emotional Genius (Agate Bolden, ISBN 978-1-932841-22-0, paperback, 300 pages, $15), in which she describes lessons her mother, Shirley (nicknamed Toni), taught her to handle both her father Bill Toler's erratic behavior and her own inner demons. She shows how this later came in handy when dealing with emotional people from the bench. She also shows how to use these rules to handle everyday life.
In 2009, her second book Put it In Writing, co-authored with Deborah Hutchison was published (Sterling Publishing, ISBN 978-1-4027-5870-6, paperback, 170 pages). This book contains agreements for use in common but uncomfortable situations between family and friends such as money lending and grown children returning home.
- Judge Toler's bio
-  at Cleveland Scene, 6/14/2006, "Here Comes the Judge."
- NPR: Television Judge Lynn Toler's Real-Life Struggles
- Lynn Toler's My Mother's Rules at AOL Black Voices
-  at "Order in the Divorce Court" in the Pennsylvania [University] Gazette, September/October 2010.