This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. ' 480A.08, subd. 3 (1994).


Shirley Leona Hansen, petitioner,


Dennis L. Hansen,

Filed July 30, 1996
Reversed and Remanded
Lansing, Judge

Hennepin County District Court
File No. 140710

Gail M. Weber, Suite 410, 7600 Parklawn Avenue, Edina, MN 55433 (for Respondent).

Susan Dickel Minsberg, Commerce at the Crossings, Suite 225, 250 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (for Respondent).

Theo. Wangensteen, Jr., 2225 Holly Lane, Plymouth, MN 55447 (for Appellant).

Robert J. Levy, Suite 1002, 1201 Yale Place, Minneapolis, MN 55403 (for Appellant).

Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Lansing, Judge, and Short, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D    O P I N I O N


Dennis Hansen appeals the denial of his motion for a modification of spousal maintenance. The parties' current financial circumstances satisfy the stipulated conditions, incorporated in the judgment, for a modification of maintenance. We reverse and remand to the district court to apply the statutory criteria to determine whether to modify spousal maintenance.


Interpretation of a district court's order presents a question of law. Anderson v. Archer, 510 N.W.2d 1, 3 (Minn. App. 1993); Vanderleest v. Vanderleest, 352 N.W.2d 54, 56 (Minn. App. 1984). If the language of the order is ambiguous, the district court may interpret it. Stieler v. Stieler, 244 Minn. 312, 318, 70 N.W.2d 127, 131 (1955). If the language is unambiguous, it is not subject to interpretation. Id. Whether an order is ambiguous is a question of law that this court may examine independently. Halverson v. Halverson, 381 N.W.2d 69, 71 (Minn. App. 1986) (citing Columbia Heights Motors v. Allstate Ins. Co., 275 N.W.2d 32, 34 (Minn. 1979)).

Dennis and Shirley Hansen dissolved their marriage by a stipulated agreement that was incorporated in the district court's judgment. Dennis Hansen agreed to pay $1,200 per month in spousal maintenance. The judgment permitted, but did not require, modifications of maintenance when "wife's gross annual income excluding maintenance exceeds $25,000." Shirley Hansen's current annual wage income is less than $25,000. Her wage, interest, and dividend income, excluding maintenance, exceeds $25,000. Dennis Hansen sought a modification of maintenance, which the district court denied, holding that the stipulation permitted a modification only when the wife's wage income by itself exceeded $25,000.

Courts may examine extrinsic evidence only when an order is ambiguous or uncertain on its face. Palmi v. Palmi, 273 Minn. 97, 102-103, 140 N.W.2d 77, 81 (1966); Stieler, 244 Minn. at 319, 70 N.W.2d at 131. The parties conditioned modification of maintenance on Shirley Hansen earning more than $25,000 per year in "gross annual income excluding maintenance." This condition is not ambiguous. The plain meaning of "gross annual income excluding maintenance" includes all income other than that derived from maintenance. Because the language is not ambiguous, it was not subject to interpretation by examining extrinsic evidence of the parties' subjective intentions at the time of the stipulation.

Although the district court's order addresses some of the criteria for a modification, the court did not make definite findings on whether to modify spousal maintenance. See Minn. Stat. ' 518.64 (1994) (detailing criteria for a modification of spousal maintenance). We remand to the district court to apply the statutory criteria to determine whether to modify the spousal maintenance.

Reversed and remanded.