John Goodman, a 48-year-old businessman from Florida, adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend as his daughter. Goodman adopted Heather Hutchins on Oct. 13 in Miami-Dade County according to a court order by Circuit Court Judge Glenn Kelley. Goodman is involved in a wrongful-death suit, and by adopting Hutchins, Goodman is trying to use her to shield his assets.
The events that serve as the grounds for the relief sought by the Plaintiffs border on the surreal and take the Court into a legal twilight zone, Judge Kelley wrote in an order granting attorneys for Lili and William Wilson the right to information concerning Goodman's adoption. While there is nothing unusual about an adult adoption, the critical fact here is that Ms. Hutchins is Mr. Goodman's 42-year-old girlfriend. Ms. Hutchins has testified in a deposition that she started dating Mr. Goodman in 2009, and it appears to be undisputed that they are still in a relationship today.
In February 2010, Goodman allegedly ran a stop sign while drunk and struck and killed 23-year-old Patrick Wilson. A civil trial date has been set as March 27, according to Fox News. Goodman allegedly had a blood alcohol limit twice that of the legal Florida limit of .08, and is facing criminal charges as well as civil. He is due in court on March 6 to face charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash. He faces up to 30 years if convicted.
Judge Kelly previously ruled that two trusts Goodman has setup for his two minor children could not be considered part of his net worth when calculating damages in the wrongful death suit. It's unclear if a trust setup for Hutchinson can be counted. A probate court with jurisdiction over the trust (either in Texas or Delaware) will be called upon to determine this issue and will ultimately decide whether the adoption, at least as it relates to the children's trust, is a sham, Kelley wrote. Nevertheless, Mr. Goodman asserts that the adoption makes Ms. Hutchins a beneficiary and, until a probate court holds otherwise, this Court will assume this is true.
Goodman could not be reached for comment, according to Fox News, but his attorney, Dan Bachi, told the Palm Beach Post that Goodman adoption of his 42-year-old girlfriend was done to ensure his family's stability. It has nothing to do with the lawsuit currently pending against him, Bachi told the newspaper.
Scott Smith, the attorney for the Wilson's said that the whole adoption is a sham. It should not go unrecognized that he has adopted his adult girlfriend as opposed to adopting a child in need, he said. That cannot go unrecognized.