Family Law

Polo mogul's adoption of girlfriend, 42, is nixed by appeals court


John Goodman’s adoption of his girlfriend, Heather Anne Hutchins, who was then 42 years old, came at a time when he was facing a criminal trial over a fatal auto accident, a wrongful death suit and a dispute over the management of a trust fund for his two children.

But it wasn’t only adverse parties in these disputes that found the adoption aggravating. A Florida appellate panel on Wedesday reversed the adoption finalized in 2011 by a Miami-Dade circuit judge, calling it a “fraud upon the court,” reports the Palm Beach Post. The panel found that Goodman intentionally kept news of the planned adoption from his ex-wife and the family of the auto accident victim until it was too late for them to contest it.

And one judge went further. In a concurring opinion in the 3rd District Court of Appeal case, Senior Judge Alan R. Schwartz said such an adoption, regardless of the motive, is contrary to the purpose of the law.

“Even if the motivation and the means for securing it were not so reprehensible, I believe…the adoption of a paramour is so contrary to the beneficent purposes of such an action that no such judgment can ever be sustained,” he wrote.

Attorney Guy Fronstin is representing Goodman as he appeals his DUI manslaughter conviction and a 16-year prison term. He says the adoption ruling will have no effect on that case, the newspaper reports.

It will, however, prevent Hutchins from continuing to receive a one-third share of the trust fund, along with Goodman’s two children, who will now once again each get half.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Guardian for Polo Mogul’s Other Kids Seeks to Reverse Dad’s Adoption of 42-Year-Old Girlfriend”

ABAJournal.com: “Polo Mogul Who Adopted Adult Gal Pal Paid $46M to End Crash Case, Says ‘Wealth Bias’ Put Him in Jail”

ABAJournal.com: “Juror Says He Drank Before DUI Death Case Verdict to Examine Mindset of Accused; Defense Cries Foul”

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