In addition to changing locations from Los Angeles to Atlanta, there’s a new arbitrator in town. Judge Lynn Toler has been the face of the show for the past 13 years but recently announced her departure, making room for Judge Faith Jenkins to take over the stand. Jenkins is not new to television, having her own successful court show for a number of years.
Judge Lynn Toler took over ‘Divorce Court’ arbitration duties in 2006
Toler took over for former Divorce Court arbitrator, Judge Mablean Ephriam, who worked on the show for seven seasons from 1999-2006.
“I remember when I took over for Judge Mablean. There was a lot of consternation and people got cranky because people don’t like new things,” she recalled in a recent video.
Toler’s style of judging was much different from the tough love style of Mablean. Toler normally provided counsel through words of wisdom, a few jokes, and her strong speaking voice.
Prior to Divorce Court, Toler hosted the short-lived court show Power of Attorney.
Judge Lynn Toler announces departure from ‘Divorce Court’
Toler has been expanding her brand over the past few years. She’s written several books on marriage and parenting and has been a relationship counselor on the WeTV reality series Marriage Bootcamp since 2013.
Toler has also become a public advocate of mental health. Her father suffered from bipolar disorder that went untreated and undiagnosed for many years, leaving her family in constant fear of his wrath and uncontrollable fits of manic rage.
As a result, Toler has experienced bouts of anxiety and depression throughout her life – even having two nervous breakdowns before the age of 12. As a judge, she’s used her platform to preach the importance of wellness.
With so many new opportunities, Toler is ready to leave Divorce Court behind to focus on other passions. She took to Twitter and Instagram to share the news that after 13 years, she’s left the series.
“I’ve left Divorce Court, we parted ways. I had 13 great years. It was time to move on,” she said. Deadline reported that Toler quietly left the show several months ago, setting off a talent search for her replacement.
Judge Faith Jenkins is the new arbitrator of ‘Divorce Court’
Deadline revealed that Jenkins is Toler’s successor. Toler shared her support of Jenkins as the new host and urged longtime fans to give her a fair chance.
“There was a lot of consternation and people got cranky because people don’t like new things,” she said in her Twitter video. “But I’m saying give her a chance, because she’s really good at what she does. She’s going to be different, she’s going to be good. She is good looking, she is smart, she is capable, and I think she will take ‘Divorce Court’ to another level.”
Jenkins brings an impressive amount of experience to her new gig. She worked in New York as an attorney for fourteen years and spent much of her time in family court on custody, child support, child visitation, and divorce proceedings.
She’s also provided legal commentary for Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC on high profile cases, including the George Zimmerman trial. Her commentary work led to her own court show, Judge Faith, which was nationally syndicated from 2014-2018.
Jenkins is happy to take over for Divorce Court, telling Deadline, “My legal expertise combined with my personal life experience – including years of dating in the world of social media and technology – provides me a unique perspective that will inform my empathy and judgment for many of the issues couples raise on the show.”
Jenkins will make her Divorce Court debut in July 2020. Divorce Court is the longest-running television court show, debuting in 1957.