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How is community property divided in a default divorce case in California?

San Diego, CA |

As the petitioner, I can only list the community property that I am aware of (my ex and I have been living apart for years). Does this mean that the judge will divide the property I list equally between my ex and myself? Or because it is a default case, will the judge grant the division I request as the petitioner (I am not asking for an unfair division. I just want my car and my loans to be assigned to me).

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Attorney answers 2


As a general rule no judgment entered pursuant to the default of a defendant can grant any reliev other than tha prayed in the petition or complaint. this is a matter of Constitutional due-process dimension.

Best wishes for an outcome you can accept, and please remember to designate a best answer.

This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.


In a default case, the Judge has to follow the same laws that apply in a contested case, i.e., to divide net community property 50/50. One thing that you could do in your case is to Notice your ex's Deposition with a Notice that includes a Demand to Produce Documents at his Deposition, so that you (or preferably an experienced Family Law Attorney) can conduct the discovery to determine what other community property may exist, or have existed as of the date of separation, and its value. If you choose to do so, you should retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to advise and represent you, to do that discovery and take the case to Judgment.

Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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