In a headline that captured national attention today, former President Donald Trump was recently fined $5,000 for violating a gag order by leaving an abusive post online. The post targeted a clerk for the judge overseeing his civil fraud case. This high-profile example serves as a powerful reminder of the potential consequences that can result from careless social media activity, especially when involved in legal proceedings.
The Risks of Venting Online
Just like in Trump's case, where a single social media post led to a tangible financial penalty, family law clients should be extremely cautious about what they post online. It's understandable to want to vent frustrations or share updates about your case. However, even seemingly innocent posts can be used against you. For instance, a comment about your soon-to-be ex-spouse could be considered disparagement, affecting custody or property division rulings. Moreover, photos or check-ins can be used as evidence of your activities and behaviors, which may impact the court's view on your responsibility or moral character.
Be Aware of Legal Injunctions
In Texas, many divorce and child custody proceedings include injunctions that specifically restrict what you can or cannot do during the course of the case. Some of these injunctions might prohibit you from making disparaging remarks about the other party, or even from deleting past social media posts. Failure to adhere to these court orders can result in serious consequences, ranging from fines to more severe penalties.
Don't Delete, But Definitely Don't Post More
It might seem like a good idea to simply delete all social media posts to avoid complications. However, if you're under a court injunction that prohibits the deletion of such material, you'd be violating a court order, which can lead to penalties. On the flip side, refrain from making any new posts that could complicate your case. The key is to abide by all court orders to the fullest extent.
Always Consult with Your Attorney
Before you make any decisions that could potentially affect your family law case, it's wise to consult with an attorney. They can provide tailored advice on how best to navigate social media and other potential pitfalls during your proceedings. Taking all court orders seriously and adhering to them fully can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.
Attorney Sean Y. Palmer has over 20 years of legal experience as a Texas Attorney and over 25 years as a Qualified Mediator in civil, family and CPS cases. Palmer practices exclusively in the area Family Law and handles Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Adoptions, and other Family Law Litigation cases. He represents clients throughout the greater Houston Galveston area, including: Clear Lake, NASA, Webster, Friendswood, Seabrook, League City, Galveston, Texas City, Dickinson, La Porte, La Marque, Clear Lake Shores, Bacliff, Kemah, Pasadena, Baytown, Deer Park, Harris County, and Galveston County, Texas.
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