Well, we haven't seen this one before! Here's a bit of legal maneuvering that's so clever it's (almost) criminal: a Florida billionaire legally adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend to shield his wealth from a lawsuit!
[Judge] Kelley had previously ruled that the trust set up for Goodman's two minor children could not be considered as part of Goodman's financial worth if a jury awarded damages to the Wilsons. According to the adoption papers, Hutchins is immediately entitled to at least a third of the trust's assets as his legal daughter since she is over the age of 35.
In a deposition taken in the lawsuit last May, Hutchins told attorneys she started dating Goodman in 2009.
William Wilson's attorney, Scott Smith, said Goodman benefits from the trust and is using it to try to shield assets. The attorney for Lili Wilson, Chris Searcy, argued in a motion that by adopting Hutchins, Goodman can now direct her to remove up to a third of the trust.
"By way of this adoption, John Goodman now effectively owns one third of the trust assets," Smith said. "It cannot go unrecognized that he chose to adopt his 42-year-old adult girlfriend as opposed to a needy child."
Jason Schultz of The Palm Beach Post reports: Link (Photo: Lannis Waters/Palm Beach Post)