Can a court convert my award of rehabilitative alimony into an award of permanent alimony? In a short answer, yes, but it must make specific findings before doing so. In Lilly v. Lilly, the trial court converted the Wife’s award of rehabilitative alimony into an award of permanent alimony. There was a rehabilitative plan and the Wife presumably did not comply with the rehabilitative plan. This rehabilitative plan, like others formulated in divorce cases, is premised on assumptions and probabilities that if the dependent former spouse makes reasonable and diligent efforts to comply, rehabilitation will occur within the projected time range that will assist the former spouse in achieving the goal of becoming partially or fully self-supporting, thus eliminating or reducing the need for further support. But plans designed with assumptions and probabilities are not infallible and, despite reasonable and diligent efforts at compliance, the expected results sometimes do not occur. In these instances, courts have the discretion to convert rehabilitative alimony to permanent alimony provided the spouse seeking the conversion presents evidence to establish that reasonable and diligent efforts were made to comply. The trial court did not make findings that the Wife did not comply, therefore the appellate court reversed the trial court’s ruling.
If you think that you are unable to complete a rehabilitative plan and that your current award of rehabilitative alimony is not sufficient to meet your needs, contact your expert family law attorney today. We will discuss with you the possibilities of converting your rehabilitative alimony into an award of permanent alimony.