We received this query whether the other spouse needs to sign or receive the summons in connection with a case for annulment. The query goes like this: “Atty, sana po matulungan ninyo ko. Ako po ay nagtratrabaho dito sa Hongkong. To cut the story short, nambabae po ang asawa ko at may anak na po sila. Kasal po kami, atty. Kahapon lang po ay nakatanggap ako ng summon na magpapa-annull po sila. Pwede po bang di ko pirmahan ang mga ito?” Since this is a general question that we’ve heard a couple of times, it would be good to have a separate post to discuss it.
Should the other spouse, called the respondent (the spouse filing the petition for annulment or declaration of nullity is called the petitioner), receive and sign the summons? Refusing to receive the summons does not mean that the case cannot proceed. There are other modes in serving the summons. Unless, of course, the other spouse simply wants to give the petitioner a hard time (resorting to the other means of serving summons involves additional time and expense).
On the other hand, so long as there is a valid service of summons, the case will proceed. It does not matter if the other spouse refuses or fails to appear during trial. It does not matter, and it is not required, for the other spouse to give his/her consent to the case. Signing the summons does NOT mean that the spouse receiving the document agrees to the petition. It is simply part of the process.
[As always, please note that this discussion is for general information, not legal advice.]