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Lynn Toler

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Lynn Toler
Toler in November 1986
Lynn Candace Toler

(1959-10-25) October 25, 1959 (age 64)
EducationHarvard University (AB) University of Pennsylvania (JD)
  • Judge
  • lawyer
  • arbitrator
Years active2001–present
Political partyRepublican (until 2016) [1]
Independent (2016–present) [2]
Eric Mumford
(m. 1989; died 2022)
WebsiteOfficial website

Lynn Candace Toler (born October 25, 1959)[3][4] is an American lawyer, judge, television arbitrator, and television presenter.

Toler is best known for her role as former arbitrator over longest-running courtroom television series, Divorce Court. From her 14 seasons with Divorce Court from 2006 to 2020, she is the longest reigning arbitrator over the series.

Toler is also known for her current co-hosting role together with Dr. Ish Major as marriage mentors over the series Marriage Boot Camp, specifically Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars - Hip Hop Edition. To date, Toler has presented Marriage Boot Camp for 3 seasons since the show's 16th season, which began on February 6, 2020.[5][6] Season 18 of Marriage Boot Camp premiered on October 17, 2021, and Toler is contracted to host the show for an additional 19th season as well.[7]

Early life and education[edit]

Lynn Toler was born in Columbus, Ohio.[8] Toler graduated from Columbus School for Girls earned an undergraduate degree in English and American Literature from Harvard College (1981) and a Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Law School (1984).[9]


From 1994[10] to 2000, Toler served as the only judge in Cleveland Heights Municipal Court. At 34 years old, after working as an attorney specializing in civil matters, she won her first judicial race by just six votes as a Republican in a predominantly Democratic district where Democrats held a 5:1 majority.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] Toler was known for enforcing nontraditional judgments, such as handwritten essays. While on the bench, she created and ran a mentoring program for teenage girls.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] In 2002, she received The Humanitarian of the Year Award from The Cleveland Domestic Violence Center.[citation needed]

Between 2001 and 2006, Toler was an adjunct professor at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio, where she taught courses on Civil Rights Law and Women's Rights.[citation needed]

Television and entertainment career[edit]

Court show judge[edit]

During the 2001-02 television year, Toler replaced Andrew Napolitano as presiding judge over nontraditional courtroom series, Power of Attorney. The program was cancelled after that television year however, and the show as a whole only lasted 2 seasons.

Toler experienced much greater success within the court show genre when she became arbitrating judge over Divorce Court, the longest-running program in the court show genre and one of the longest syndicated programs of all time. Toler took over the bench beginning on September 11, 2006, with the premiere of the court show's 24th season, replacing Mablean Ephriam[11] (of whom Toler has said she is fond and with whom Toler has had pleasant interactions[12]). Toler would eventually become Divorce Court's longest reigning judge (the series is composed of 4 other judges who have each had their tenures), presiding over the broadcast for 14 seasons. As the level-headed arbiter of Divorce Court, Toler was frequently seen providing counsel, words of wisdom, and trying to talk sense into the show's outrageous couples. She used her vehement expression, emphasis, and strident vocal timbre to deliver her points.

Toler departed Divorce Court after 14 years, announced publicly in March 2020.[13] During an October 19, 2021, interview on Bailiff Byrd's Bonding with Byrd web series, Toler elaborated on details of her Divorce Court resignation, citing a list of dissatisfactions she had with production. Among them, Toler recounted efforts made by production to move the program into a more farcical, comedic direction following the popularity of her "Rolling Ray" Divorce Court case.[12][14] Toler has also cited various other objections she had during her final season, such as the show's relocation from Los Angeles to Atlanta and a vastly altered simulated courtroom set design that led to her having physical discomfort while ruling on cases. During the Bonding with Byrd interview, Toler cited regular altercations with the Divorce Court crew, thus her decision to resign from the program. Still, she has expressed grace for the opportunity to preside over the court show, which has since been presided over by Faith Jenkins (2020-2022) and Star Jones (2022-).[15][16]

During her interview with Byrd, Toler added that while she didn't miss the show as she had left it, she did miss the show in the form it was previous to her final season.[15][16]

Couples therapy presenter and other roles[edit]

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, a couples therapy program.[17] 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 has guest-starred on The Ricki Lake Show as a marriage counselor. Since February 2020, Toler has hosted the We TV hit series, Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars.[5][6]

Authoring career[edit]

Toler is the author of My Mother's Rules: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Emotional Genius, 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 describes how this later came in handy when dealing with emotional people from the bench. She also discusses how to apply these rules to everyday life.

In 2009, her second book, Put it In Writing (co-authored with Deborah Hutchison), was published. This book contains agreements for use in common but uncomfortable situations between family and friends, such as lending money, and grown children returning home.

Judge Toler is also author of Making Marriage Work and Dear Sonali, Letters to the Daughter I Never had.

Personal life[edit]

Toler resides in Mesa, Arizona. Toler and her husband, Eric Mumford, married on April 6, 1989, and Toler has two sons and four stepsons.[citation needed] On January 4, 2023, Judge Toler announced via social media that Eric Mumford passed away on December 23, 2022.[citation needed]

Though identifying as a political Independent, since 2017, Toler has donated exclusively to candidates aligned with the Democratic Party including Jaime Harrison, Amy McGrath, and President Joe Biden.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Judge Lynn Toler: Yes, I'm Republican". FOXY N.C. 24 September 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  2. ^ "Tweet by Judge Lynn Toler". Twitter. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  3. ^ "Meet Judge Lynn". Divorce Court. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  4. ^ "JudgeLynn.com". Lynn Toler. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  5. ^ a b "'Marriage Requires Sacrifice': Judge Lynn Toler On Divorce & 'Marriage Boot Camp: Hip Hop Edition'". Los Angeles CBS Local. United States. January 27, 2020. Retrieved October 23, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Rogers, Chris (February 6, 2020). "'Marriage Boot Camp': Judge Lynn Toler Grills Cee Lo & Joseline Hernandez OnRomance Issues". Hollywood Life. United States. Retrieved October 23, 2021.
  7. ^ Priola, Victoria (October 7, 2021). "'Marriage Boot Camp' returns with 'Hip Hop Edition' tonight: How to watch and stream for free". Silive. United States. Retrieved October 23, 2021.
  8. ^ "Divorce Court's Judge Lynn Toler chats with 50BOLD". 50bold. April 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  9. ^ "Lynn C. Toler Lawyer Profile - martindale.com". martindale.com. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  10. ^
  11. ^ [1] Archived March 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ a b Byrd, Petri Hawkins; Bond, Markita (October 19, 2018). "Bonding With Byrd: Episode 65". YouTube. United States. Archived from the original on 2021-12-17. Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  13. ^ "Divorce Court's Lynn Toler Exits Series After '13 Great Years' as She Praises Her Replacement". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved 2020-03-06.
  14. ^ "Divorce Court, you won't believe what you're watching is real". 99.9KTDY. 2021-06-21.
  15. ^ a b "Judge Lynn Toler Was a Staple of 'Divorce Court' so Where Did She Go?". Distractify. 2020-04-24.
  16. ^ a b "Lynn Toler on why she's leaving 'Divorce Court' and whether this pandemic will lead to more domestic violence and divorce". TheAtlantaConstitution. 2021-04-12.
  17. ^ Judge Lynn Toler to Host MyNetworkTV's "Decision House", Broadcasting & Cable, July 13, 2007
  18. ^ "Indidvidual Contributions". fec.gov. Retrieved 14 September 2023.

External links[edit]