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article imageAppeals court rules man cannot adopt his girlfriend

By Leigh Goessl     Apr 2, 2013 in World
A man who had adopted his adult girlfriend, only a few years younger than he, has just learned he cannot remain as her father.
A judge has just ruled against an adoption that John B. Goodman, 49, initiated in 2011 after he'd allegedly feared losing his vast fortune when he was involved during 2010 in a car accident where 23-year-old Scott Patrick Wilson died.
After the accident, Goodman had attempted to adopt his girlfriend, Heather Hutchins.
In February 2012, Digital Journal had reported the story of Goodman, who adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend presumably as an attempt to hold onto his fortune after he'd been brought to court in a wrongful death lawsuit after a DUI arrest.
After the deadly crash, he'd attempted to gain a "daughter", and the adoption was approved in a Florida court. Hutchins was then established as one of Goodman's children, and included as receiving one-third of a $300 million trust fund set up in 1991 by him and ex-wife Carroll Goodman for their children. Under the terms of the trust, the children cannot touch the money until they are 35. Since Hutchins is beyond the age, she can access the fortune.
Goodman's ex-wife, who shares two children with Goodman, appealed the adoption. He had not notified her of the adoption of Hutchins, which the court viewed as fraudulent.
The adoption was recently reversed, according to ABC News (courtesy Yahoo! News), who reported:
"Florida's Third District Court of Appeals Senior Judge Alan R. Schwartz wrote that the adoption of a "paramour" or lover was "so contrary to the beneficent purposes of such an action" that it could not be confirmed by the court, according to court documents."
According to the Daily Mail, the court's decision said, "Goodman's concealment of the adoption proceeding deprived the children of an opportunity to address the trial court and present their objections."
In May 2012, the multi-millionaire was convicted of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide, fined $10,000 and sentenced to 16 years in prison. He was also placed under 24-hour surveillance.
Goodman was then released on $7 million bail as this case went to appeal.
The civil court case is still pending. Last year, it was reported Goodman said the adoption had nothing to do with the civil case pending against him.
Scott Smith, the attorney representing the victim's family, said at the time, "By way of this adoption, John Goodman now effectively owns one third of the trust assets. It cannot go unrecognized that he chose to adopt his 42-year-old adult girlfriend as opposed to a needy child."
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