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Would you ever adopt your girlfriend, making her legally your daughter? Most people wouldn't. Then again, most people aren't John Goodman. Goodman, a Florida businessman, adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend Heather Laruso Hutchins as his daughter last year.
The motive seemed clearly financial. Goodman faced a lawsuit brought by the parents of 23-year-old Scott Patrick Wilson. Wilson died in a car crash after Goodman ran a red light. It was later determined that Goodman had an elevated blood-alcohol level.
Goodman is now facing a lawsuit brought by his real children. Apparently, they aren't too pleased that daddy adopted his girlfriend. Especially because the adoption means Hutchins is entitled to part of a trust originally set up for Goodman's kids.
And that's why Goodman may have adopted Hutchins in the first place. A judge had earlier ruled that the trust would not be counted as part of Goodman's financial worth. It would be shielded from liability should he lose the lawsuit.
By adopting Hutchins, Goodman was essentially giving her a 1/3 stake in the trust money. And he could end up securing assets himself. He could instruct his "daughter" to withdraw money from the account on his behalf.
A guardian for Goodman's children filed the suit on their behalf. Goodman's children allege that their father defrauded the court through the adoption. His kids also argue that their dad abused adoption rules with the unusual move, according to the Huffington Post.
Regardless of the outcome of his childrens' legal action, one thing is clear. It is kind of strange to adopt your girlfriend. Especially if you want to continue your relationship.
John Goodman's criminal and civil trials are both slated to start in March. It's unclear when (or if) the judge will throw out his adoption before then.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.