Before a petition can be considered there must first be proof that there is no longer any hope of reconciliation between the parties. A civil divorce would provide such proof. One of the former spouses would then petition for the annulment and the other former spouse would be given the opportunity to respond to that petition. Although both former spouses are expected to give testimony, the proof of the case will be found in the evidence provided by their respective witnesses.
The process can not begin unless the former spouse is notified by the Tribunal that a petition has been submitted and is given the opportunity to respond to the petition.
The annulment process continues whether or not the other party contests or cooperates in the process, and as long as the petitioner keeps the case in an active status. The effects of a church annulment is that the parties are no longer deemed married in the eyes of the Catholic Church and therefore are not bound to the effects of this particular union.
The testimony of both parties is sough in order to establish the facts of the relationship…facts which must be confirmed by witnesses who knew the parties at the time of their wedding.
The annulment process is time-consuming and involves a lot of people who bring their own genuine emotions and prejudices into the process. There are divorced people who are angry, or bitter, or disappointed, or simply hurting from a failed marriage. There are relatives and friends who are either supportive or hostile not only to the parties but to the process itself. Some accommodate, others obstruct. Interference into an on-going investigation will not be allowed.