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The defendant can be represented by an attorney.
The only times that the actual defendant is compelled to appear is if they are deposed, subpoenaed, or post-judgment with a "debtor's exam" - in all of these the defendant may choose to be represented by counsel but they would have to appear.
A civil summons and complaint only requires the defendant to file an appearance - this can be done by an attorney.
If the court were to issue an order requiring a personal appearance by the defendant, that would be followed by sanctions, but you would not be entitled to a default judgment.
The attorney can appear. If the property isn't there the defendant is in contempt and is subject to sanctions (money damages).
(You continue to state that you are entitled to a default judgment - this is not how it works. You get sanctions against the defendant, not a default - a default judgment happens when the defendant fails to file a response to the complaint, not because they fail to show up to a hearing).
Depending on the severity of the conduct, courts do have the discretion to issue what are called "terminating sanctions" - where judgment is entered against the wrongdoing party - but this is an extreme measure and courts seldom do it, to get to this point you need more than one missed hearing.
Have you added a cause of action for "conversion" (the civil equivalent of theft) to your current civil suit? That would give you a basis to recover punitive damages for her stealing the car back from you.
All the above is correct, EXCEPT: You are not asking for "Default Judgment" you are asking for "Terminating Sanctions" (see the post above for clarification on the difference procedurally - both result in a judgment in your favor).
Excellent. You should be well positioned then. Hopefully you get the car back quickly and you do not have to deal with it past that point, but if not, you already have the complaint set appropriately.
I do wish you the best with this matter.
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Thank you again, and again I wish you the best.