Marr. of EusticeAnnotate this Case
The issue this case presented for the Court of Appeal's review was one of first impression as to whether a default judgment was void for lack of notice where the marital dissolution petition requested the court to determine the property rights of the parties but did not list any property. Rather than listing assets and debts, the petition stated that the parties would stipulate to division of the assets and debts and, if this did not occur, the petitioner would amend the petition. Before either of these alternatives occurred, the court struck Joseph Eustice's answer to the petition, conducted a prove-up hearing, and entered a default judgment disposing of the marital property. Prior to the court striking Joseph’s answer, both parties served on each other preliminary declarations listing all known assets and debts subject to disposition. "Normally, for notice purposes, a default judgment cannot dispose of property which has not been listed in the marital dissolution petition or an attached property declaration. Rather than concluding, here, that the default judgment is void because it disposes of property not listed in the petition, we hold the default judgment is valid and enforceable because Joseph appeared in the proceedings by filing a response listing assets and debts subject to disposition, and Joseph received notice of the assets and debts disposed of in the default judgment by being served with the [his wife's] two preliminary declarations. Furthermore, any deficiency in notice was waived by Joseph’s response to the petition and preliminary declaration, both of which listed the property disposed of in the default judgment. We therefore reject Joseph’s contentions and affirm the judgment."