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A Florida man has adopted his girlfriend. Yes, you read that right. Businessman John Goodman adopted his girlfriend Heather Laruso Hutchins as his daughter October 13.
In case you're wondering, Goodman is 48. Hutchins is 42. Hutchins and Goodman have been dating since 2009.
Now, you might wonder why Goodman would do such a thing. No normal person would want to have their girlfriend legally considered their daughter, right? Well, not so fast. Apparently Goodman's move might be a carefully calculated ploy.
Goodman is currently being sued for wrongful death. In 2010, Goodman allegedly went through a stop sign. His car hit another vehicle driven by 23-year-old Scott Patrick. Patrick died, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Reports indicate Goodman had a blood-alcohol level in excess of twice the legal limit hours after the fatal accident.
Goodman has a trust set up for two of his children. A judge ruled that this trust could not be tapped as part of his financial worth. This means that the amount in the trust could be shielded from liability if Patrick's parents prevail in court. By adopting Hutchins, she could be entitled to a third of the trust.
This sounds a bit icky, no matter how you look at it. Most states permit legal adoption of adults. But at least one attorney thinks that Goodman may be violating the statute. "Unless you intend to create the parent-child relationship, you are violating the letter of the law," said adoption attorney Charlotte Danciu to CBS 12.
Is Goodman really going to start treating his girlfriend like a daughter?
That remains to be seen. But John Goodman's adoption won't solve his legal problems. He's also facing criminal charges of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide over the accident. He could end up serving 30 years in jail if convicted, reports the Post.