Man adopts girlfriend in order to protect assets in DUI case

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A man legally adopts his girlfriend - bet you thought this was going to be about Courtney Stodden and that guy from "Lost," didn't you?

John Goodman, 48, the founder of the International Polo Club in Wellington, Fla., has legally adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend Heather Hutchins, reports "Today." Why? Because he's trying to protect his financial assets in a civil case brought against him for a fatal drunk driving accident.

On Feb. 12, 2010 Goodman ran a stop sign and was in a car accident that killed 23-year-old Scott Wilson. At the time, cops say Goodman had a blood alcohol level of twice of the legal limit. Goodman not only faces criminal charges that carry a possible prision sentence of 30  years, but he is also being sued in a civil matter by Scott's parents. That trial is set to begin March 27.

The court documents for that trial were recently released and it was then that the Wilsons learned that Goodman adopted Hutchins back in October. Circuit court Judge Glenn Kelley had previously ruled that a trust fund Goodman had established for his two minor children could not be considered an asset for any damages that come out of the civil trial. Now that Hutchins is considered Goodman's daughter, she is entitled to one-third of the trust and since she's over 35, she can begin drawing money from it immediately.

Judge Kelley writes, "The Court cannot ignore reality or the practical impact of what Mr. Goodman has now done. The Defendant has effectively diverted a significant portion of the assets of the children's trust to a person with whom he is intimately involved at a time when his personal assets are largely at risk in this case."

A probate court is expected to rule on the legitimacy of Hutchins' adoption. Goodman's attorney Dan Bachi says the adoption was only undertaken to stabilize the children's future through the trust, it "has nothing to do with the lawsuit currently pending against him."

So basically, even though the judge ruled that the trust could not be touched in damages award, Goodman is still afraid for that money and so he .... adopted his girlfriend so she could have instant access to that money. Which may not be strictly legal, since adoption is predicated on establishing the parent-child relationship. However, if they do maintain sexual relations, that would not be incest, under Florida law - because they are not "close blood relations."

Goodness.
Photo/Video credit: NBC
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