I am currently working with Elizabeth. She was recommended to me by my marriage counselor. Unfortunately things did not work out there and we ended up working with Elizabeth.
I recommended her to a friend in the beginning. That friend later questioned why i recommended her. Now i am encountering the same concerns he had. I should have known better to recommend someone i had little experience with to date.
I expected a mediator who would lay out the facts accurately. Be fair, knowledgeable and responsive, and help us negotiate a reasonable final outcome.
After several meetings with Elizabeth i learned from a friend about the Morse Marsden rule. Elizabeth had never shared this rule with us. In my case this makes a substantial difference in my financial outcome. I’m already dealing with onerous asset splits and alimony expense, at least relative to me. So this is when I firstcame to question whether Elizabeth was truly fair. Nevertheless, I was willing to look past this in an effort to reach a reasonable settlement. In fact, I was willing to leave out this calculation for now.
Next, we learned she went on vacation for 6 weeks while we were hoping to finalize our divorce. Everyone is entitled to their vacation. And I'm sure Elizabeth's job is very taxing. So we were certainly understanding.
Then following her vacation we were informed that in order to complete the status-only filing for divorce she needed to receive back a Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt form from my employer. Although, she forgot i no longer worked for that company so she sent it to my previous employer's address. 45 days later she informed me she never heard back. So she had to send it again. Ok, mistakes happen. We can forgive and move on...
Now it is into the new year. Costs continue to rise with Elizabeth as i'm trying to pay temporary alimony and child support with little left to cover my expenses. Now we're told that the procedure to get a stipulation status-only judgement through is "a little bit more complicated in that it requires the filing of a noticed motion". So therefore, my costs and time.
Then there was a problem with Elizabeth’s notary license. I won't go into that... But it boils down to even more delays and challenges.
Now I'm trying to deal with getting everything finalized once and for all. It’s an exhausting process. I’m sure hoping there are no further “technical difficulties” in getting this done. Elizabeth has run my final dissomaster numbers and they got worse... She forgot that she’s already been told that we no longer have child care costs since she is now in public school and no longer goes to Montessori school. She also is leaving it to me to “work it out” with my soon-to-be-ex on how we’ll handle the fact that I pay for alimony and child support and she also lives in a house for free that I pay half the mortgage on, but don’t live in. I’ve read that in such situations I should get credit for such a thing. But Elizabeth won’t say anything about it. She picks and chooses the topics to respond to...
I could go on and on about my challenges with Elizabeth. My guess is that she has lots of clients and can barely give the proper attention to any of them. I’m sure it is a very stressful job. And I’m sure she deals with lots of unreasonable people. But to sum up my experience, I definitely do not feel she was fair with me. She takes a long time to respond, which is very difficult when you are faced with trying to figure out how you will make ends meet and can’t sleep as a result. And she either isn’t very knowledgeable or she simply decides things like Morse Marsden aren’t worth mentioning.
In general, my experience has not been good. I could not recommend Elizabeth to anyone else.
Response from Elizabeth Fondren March 23, 2013
I find it extremely disconcerting to read such a negative review when our interaction was so positive, John. I actually feel rather betrayed.
You came to my office a broken man, deeply saddened by the circumstances of your failed marriage. You were at all times a gentleman, though, and you quickly earned my utmost respect for how you handled yourself.
You are an astute business man with vast experience in real estate and finance and in short order laid out your goals for the mediation, including a proposed property settlement which clearly excluded any Moore/Marsden calculations. You demonstrated a firm understanding of your rights and duties, and the pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages, of your proposal.
You did become a bit beleaguered during our negotiations at a couple points and expressed some upset, but later apologized profusely, explaining that sometimes your emotions did get the better of you, and we moved forward.
Your case took longer than most, yes, but largely because you yourself asked for everything to be put on hold for an extended period of time. It was for a legitimate reason and was stipulated to by both parties. The delay ultimately allowed you the time and tools to effect a plan that saved you a tremendous amount of money.
We recently finished your case and are currently awaiting the return of your full stipulated judgment from the court. I call that a success.
The case you referred to me also resulted in a full settlement some time ago so I'm not sure why you mentioned that in a negative context.
Avvo does not notify me when a review - good or bad - is posted on my profile. I wish they did because it appears yours was submitted about a month ago, a bit before we finalized the terms of your settlement. So perhaps this is all a matter of timing. Perhaps now you wouldn't have chosen to post this kind of review. I don't know, and perhaps never will.
Family Law, my dedicated area of practice and something I feel very passionately about, can be tricky at times, full of differing perspectives and flaring tempers (after all, we are dealing with those things nearest and dearest to our hearts - kids and money!) But there remains one constant for me: I get to help really good people (like you!) through one of the most difficult times in their life. I love that and am very fulfilled by what I do.
So, John, I wish you health, happiness, and good fortune in all your future endeavors.