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Gaff
Just like the gypsy woman said

join:1999-09-05
North TX, US
Reviews:
·Suddenlink

Bank sucks - but not how you think

So I adopted my stepson a few weeks ago, and I finally received his new social security card in the mail today, which I had been waiting on.

I went to the bank and asked them to update the records on his savings account with his new name. I gave her all of the documents, she goes off and makes copies, all well and good.

When I get home I noticed that the bank officer had removed the staple in the corner of the adoption order from the court, then re-stapled it after she had finished making a copy. My lawyer expressly told me never to do this as it removes the certification from the document (i.e. I could have added pages in or removed some), so I can no longer use this copy for any official purpose.

Since the adoption records were sealed by the court, I do not believe they can be obtained by anyone, even me, without scheduling another hearing in front of the judge and asking for access. I did obtain other copies at the time, fortunately, but I would have expected that someone at a bank who did this for a living would know better than to remove staples from an official document, thereby invalidating it.
--
My PC Gaming Blog
»www.unbooted.com


Caddyroger
Premium
join:2001-06-11
To the west
Reviews:
·Comcast
How many times a week does a bank handle adoptions papers?. How would a bank know that the staple can not be removed or stapled back together?
Every legal official documents that I have handled you could remove the staple and staple them back together again.
Why didn't you tell them not to remove the staple.
--
Caddy


Cabal
Premium
join:2007-01-21
Reviews:
·Suddenlink
reply to Gaff
I would think the bank would have accepted photocopies of the adoption paperwork. They're just a bank, after all.

Or you could've opened a new account elsewhere and transferred if the alternatives was another hearing.
--
If you can't open it, you don't own it.

guppy_fish
Premium
join:2003-12-09
Lakeland, FL
kudos:3

1 recommendation

reply to Gaff
All legal documents have page numbers, they would never rely on a staple which can easily be removed and put back on

wth
Premium
join:2002-02-20
Iowa City,IA
reply to Gaff
The pages may be numbered, but they all need to be numbered like 1 of 6, 2 of 6, and so forth.


Gaff
Just like the gypsy woman said

join:1999-09-05
North TX, US
Reviews:
·Suddenlink
reply to Cabal
They wouldn't accept a photocopy; that's why I had to go in and show them original documents in the first place.

I expect a bank officer to know better than to do something like this, given that they work for a bank and they have seen this before.

From now on I will be telling anyone I give a copy to not to remove the staple, and I've bought some post-its for if I have to send a copy through the mail to carry the same instruction.
--
My PC Gaming Blog
»www.unbooted.com


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
reply to Gaff
Have your attorney call the bank, explain the issue to them, schedule another hearing and make the bank pick up all the costs of doing so.

BlitzenZeus
Burnt Out Cynic
Premium
join:2000-01-13
kudos:3

7 recommendations

reply to Gaff
Basing the validity of documents on a staple? This is just ludicrous.


Gaff
Just like the gypsy woman said

join:1999-09-05
North TX, US
Reviews:
·Suddenlink
Solely? No. There are other security measures (each page is stamped with the county seal, for example), but I was warned very firmly by my attorney to never remove the staple.

»courts.oregon.gov/Lane/Records/p···wto.aspx

quote:
"The certified copy should not be taken apart. If the staple is removed, the certification becomes invalid."
That's Oregon, but same principle.

I've got a few emails bouncing around; I'll see what shakes down tomorrow.
--
My PC Gaming Blog
»www.unbooted.com

BlitzenZeus
Burnt Out Cynic
Premium
join:2000-01-13
kudos:3
That might just be Lane county as this sounds very odd. Good luck with the bank, but without a warning like a cover letter explicitly saying never to disassemble the documents I'm not sure the bank will take responsibility, however if this is common in that county they should know this. Imagine the court, and possible lawyer costs to just replace documents over removing a staple. Other than getting a passport, and other things of that nature hopefully you won't need documents like this again anytime soon.
--
I distrust those people who know so well what god wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires- Susan B. Anthony
Yesterday we obeyed kings, and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to the truth- Kahlil G.

mocycler
Premium
join:2001-01-22
kudos:1

1 recommendation

reply to Gaff
I've been an attorney a long time and have never heard of an entire document being automatically decertified over a staple hole. As mentioned, there are seals and other measures. A staple is is not a legal instrument.

This is why pages are numbered in concurrence (1 of 10, 2 of 10, etc.) and in many cases the party(s) to the action have to sign every single page.

The courts have some odd protocol but this one is way out there even by legal standards. It almost sounds like an article from The Onion.

I think what your lawyer really meant was that a staple hole could call into question the validity of the document at a later time. I don't think it means that once the hole is there it can never again be used for any reason.

Anyway, I'm not an adoption attorney and I'm not on the bar in your state, so I'll defer to your counsel.

If keeping the papers together was that big of a deal, then why didn't you say something to the bank staff?

mocycler is a corporate counsel attorney and (by most accounts) a decent guy
--
»www.twentyfirstsummer.com


Tex
Premium
join:2012-10-20
kudos:2
reply to Gaff
I'm not sure, other than the fact the bank invalidated one copy, what the issue is. You say, "I did obtain other copies at the time...", so what's the big deal? Like Caddyroger See Profile asks, how often does a bank handle adoption papers and, more importantly, if you knew beforehand that removing the staple was such a big deal, why didn't you just remind the bank officer not to remove the staple? Much ado about nothing if you ask me.
--
Apple Creek Vineyard and Winery

Ole Juul

join:2013-04-27
Coalmont, BC
reply to Gaff
To my view, both the bank and the attorney are questionable.


Gaff
Just like the gypsy woman said

join:1999-09-05
North TX, US
Reviews:
·Suddenlink
reply to Gaff
First off, the pages are labelled "Page 1", "Page 2", etc., not "Page 1 of 5" or "Page 2 of 5".

Second, it's a problem because I ordered the amount of copies I expected to need. I am applying for British citizenship for him, so one is already gone probably for several months; I am also applying for a US passport for him so that one will be gone for about 6 weeks. I have to have his school records updated with his new surname, but that cannot be done until school starts again in late August (I already tried), so I need a third copy for that.

The bank official replied by email this morning apologising, but nothing other than that. Still waiting on a reply from the district clerk as to how difficult it is to obtain new copies, or whether a new hearing is required, as I believe.

I did not expect a bank to make a mistake like this, hence my not mentioning to them not to remove the staple. Clearly I now know otherwise, and won't be making the same mistake twice.
--
My PC Gaming Blog
»www.unbooted.com

hchen42

join:1999-12-23
New York, NY

1 edit
reply to Gaff
No offense, but why are you expecting a bank employee to know about legal matters?

I've worked at a bank in the past 8 years. I work in the wealth/asset managent area. I just asked around, NO one here knows about removing staplers from any document. I then walked over to the compliance area. Couple of lawyers there said this would depend on your local legislation about legal documents. They did mention if you don't want the document to be taken apart, do not use stapler. They pointed to our legal documents method. If we do not wish the documents to be taken apart, we have these little ring (metal grommets) punched instead of using a stapler.

Just for the heck of it, I searched our database for any "user info" update, we actually have a lot of name changes (overwhelmingly due to marriage). There many be many instances of name changes, but doesn't mean most of us know the legal documents need to remain intact.

A word of advice, when you request something at a bank that is a bit out of ordinary, mention to the bank employees. Believe it or not, most people who work at a bank are very brain dead. We follow specific procedures, specific routines. And we have to follow after all the regulations that have rained down on the banks since 9/11 , financial meltdown, dotcom bomb. If we don't have a procedure that specifically says :"DO NOT REMOVE STAPLERS", we might remove it for our convenience.


Gaff
Just like the gypsy woman said

join:1999-09-05
North TX, US
Reviews:
·Suddenlink
Absolutely; I will be doing that from now on. I figured since this wasn't the bank's first rodeo with something like this then I would not need to state it, but I was mistaken. I will be explicitly stating this in the future.

Some good news today from the district clerk. I can make a written request to the judge to ask for further copies at a nominal fee, and won't have to schedule another hearing. I will likely ask for another two copies to cover all bases, which would be $10 plus postage.

Consider it a lesson learned on my account.
--
My PC Gaming Blog
»www.unbooted.com


chrisretusn
Retired
Premium
join:2007-08-13
Philippines
kudos:1
Reviews:
·PLDT
·Comcast

2 recommendations

reply to Gaff
said by Gaff:

They wouldn't accept a photocopy; that's why I had to go in and show them original documents in the first place.

Well they did accept a photocopy. They made it from the original. Why couldn't you have made copies your self, bring the original and copies you have made for the bank. The copies can be verified against the original if there is doubt. Here that is the expected procedure. Banks (and most other places) don't make copies for you.

BTW, I am the proud father of three adopted step children.
--
Chris
Living in Paradise!!

harald

join:2010-10-22
Columbus, OH
kudos:2

2 recommendations

reply to Gaff
We seem to have overlooked the most important thing - Congratulations!


Boooost

@24.190.186.x
reply to Gaff
said by Gaff:

My lawyer expressly told me never to do this as it removes the certification from the document (i.e. I could have added pages in or removed some),

This is bogus. I can easily remove a page from a stapled set without disturbing the staple. And it's only slightly more difficult to add a page and replace the staple through the same holes.


Gaff
Just like the gypsy woman said

join:1999-09-05
North TX, US
Reviews:
·Suddenlink
reply to harald
said by harald:

We seem to have overlooked the most important thing - Congratulations!

Thank you.

said by Boooost :

This is bogus. I can easily remove a page from a stapled set without disturbing the staple. And it's only slightly more difficult to add a page and replace the staple through the same holes.

I don't make the rules.
--
My PC Gaming Blog
»www.unbooted.com


chrisretusn
Retired
Premium
join:2007-08-13
Philippines
kudos:1
reply to harald
Yeah, sort of lost my manners.

As the father of three adopted step children, Congratulations!
--
Chris
Living in Paradise!!

PX Eliezer
Premium
join:2013-03-10
Outland
kudos:6
Reviews:
·Optimum Voice
·callwithus
·Callcentric
reply to Gaff
Congratulations on your son.

As for your attorney, he/she [could] be overdoing it.

I would be curious if others in the same state or county have the same concern as your own attorney.

I understand the point, but the single action may not be a fatal one by itself.


Scilicet
Spaced Out
Premium
join:2005-04-11
Aurora, CO
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Vonage

1 recommendation

reply to Gaff
Gaff, you need only to go to the clerk at the courthouse where the records are kept and ask for a "certified copy" of the papers. They will print out the papers, staple, stamp, and emboss them; and charge a fee. Here at my county it will usually cost about $20 for a few pages plus 25¢ per page if it's a lengthy document. You'll need the case number and ID. That's it, don't fret.
--
"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - W. Durant


Scilicet
Spaced Out
Premium
join:2005-04-11
Aurora, CO
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Vonage

2 recommendations

reply to Gaff
said by Gaff:

I can no longer use this copy for any official purpose.

Yes, you can. Places like banks just need a copy for their records and they usually don't care how official it is. Your un-stapled copy is still good for most uses. Use that unless they ask to see the certified one. You can even email it in many cases. May I suggest that you lightly pencil over the embossed seal so that it will be visible on a scanned or photo copy. You might also consider getting several certified copies from the court clerk and keep them in a safe place with the rest of your important papers. This kind of unforeseen nonsense happens to us all, at least once.
--
"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - W. Durant

mocycler
Premium
join:2001-01-22
kudos:1

2 recommendations

Scilicet See Profile is right: This really isn't that big of a deal. The copy you have can be used for most ordinary purposes: Registering the child for school, medical insurance, etc.

Additional "official" copies are fairly easy to get if needed. You do not need to go before a judge just to get something that is already adjudicated and part of the court record anyway.

Some free legal advice: Never, ever alter or change any legal document on your own, even if you think you are being helpful. This includes "penciling over" raised seals, highlighting text, hand written notes in the margins...nothing.

If you feel a need to do this, make a photocopy to mess with or request a second certified copy from the court clerk. Always have at least one original, unaltered official copy in your possession.

The people who care about this stuff know what to look for and what questions to ask. They don't need any "help". There is nothing you can or should proactively do to your paperwork to make the system work better.

mocycler is a corporate counsel attorney and (by most accounts) a decent guy
--
»www.twentyfirstsummer.com


Gaff
Just like the gypsy woman said

join:1999-09-05
North TX, US
Reviews:
·Suddenlink
reply to Scilicet
said by Scilicet:

Gaff, you need only to go to the clerk at the courthouse where the records are kept and ask for a "certified copy" of the papers. They will print out the papers, staple, stamp, and emboss them; and charge a fee.

As I stated above, because the record was sealed (at my request) then this is not an option. The clerk of the court has already told me the only way to obtain new copies is through writing a letter and requesting them from the judge, which I did today.

said by mocycler:

Additional "official" copies are fairly easy to get if needed. You do not need to go before a judge just to get something that is already adjudicated and part of the court record anyway.

I believe you do when the record is sealed.
--
My PC Gaming Blog
»www.unbooted.com


Scilicet
Spaced Out
Premium
join:2005-04-11
Aurora, CO
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Vonage
Hmmm. Pity. Then I suppose that you need to file a Motion with the clerk of the Court to unseal these records, get copies, and seal the case again. Such forms are usually available for download from your State or Civil Court Website. You can also go to the courthouse and ask the clerks for a Motion form and the Orders form for the Judge or Magistrate to sign. These are usually cutout types of forms and you just fill in the blanks then file them with the clerk. Often there are self help desks where you can ask questions. I can understand why you wanted these records sealed.
--
"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - W. Durant

mocycler
Premium
join:2001-01-22
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Some clarification regarding "sealed" court records:

Because a record is sealed that does not mean nothing about the case can ever be disclosed, or that any and every piece of paper related to the case is off limits.

In the context of an adoption, "sealed" records usually refer only to information regarding the biological parents & relatives of the adoptee, or other specific information as determined by the judge.

Obviously, the basic fact that that child was adopted and by whom is not a secret.

The paperwork given to the adoptive parents is not part of the "sealed" record. If it were, it would not have been given to them in the first place. The law differentiates between information required for current and future needs (obtaining a state ID, registering to vote, applying for a loan, etc.) and private information that is not relevant to these needs.

Today, opening sealed adoption records is quite rare. Years ago, it was fairly common for the courts to allow unsealing records for the purpose of researching family medical history. This is seldom permitted now because medical technology has advanced to the point where genetic testing can very accurately determine risk for hereditary diseases.

So yeah, documents under the adoptive parent(s) control are just another court record anyone can get from the clerk's office. There is nothing secret or special about them.

--
»www.twentyfirstsummer.com


Boooost

@151.190.40.x
reply to Gaff
said by Gaff:

I don't make the rules.

Neither does your lawyer.

Ole Juul

join:2013-04-27
Coalmont, BC
said by Boooost :

Neither does your lawyer.

+1