A common thread across various annulment-related topics is the effect of the absence of the spouse when a petition for annulment is filed. The latest reincarnation of this query is in the post “Annulment in the Philippines: Questions and Answers II“. It basically goes like this: “I will be filing for annulment but my husband is working abroad and he cannot be present during the hearings.” This query is expected to continue because a lot of Filipinos go abroad as OFWs.
The spouse (husband or wife) who files the petition for annulment or declaration of nullity is called the petitioner. The other spouse is automatically called the respondent. Upon filing of the petition, summons MUST be served on the spouse-respondent (see Signing the Summons in Annulment Case). As long as summons is validly served, the proceedings will proceed even if the spouse-respondent does not appear in all hearings. The case will continue even if the respondent-spouse fails or refuses to participate.