A. Drafting and filing in court of the petition.
It can be filed, at the choice of the petitioner, in the Court, which has territorial jurisdiction over the petitioner’s or the respondent’s residence, six months before to the date of filing. If the respondent is a non-resident, the petition can be filed in the place where can he be found.
B. Issuance of Summons.
In other words, this is the service of summon to the respondent. It is the process on which the court can be able to obtain jurisdiction over the respondent. In case the respondent cannot be found at the stated address and cannot be verified by diligent inquiry, summons may be done by publication. This is really important considering that the court may not legally proceed and render a valid decision in the absence of a valid service of summons.
C. Answer of the Respondent.
15 days from service of summons or within 30 days from the last issue of publication in case of service of summons by publication, the Respondent has the right to file an answer. In case an answer is not filed by the respondent he shall not be declared in default, but the government prosecutor is obliged to investigate if there is collusion between the parties.
D. Investigation by the government prosecutor
the government prosecutor shall prepare an investigation report on whether collusion exists among the parties. In case the court is persuaded that there is collusion, the petition shall be dismissed; alternatively, else the court shall schedule the case for pre-trial. In the recent ruling, Solicitor General Certification is not needed.
E. Pre-trial conference.
During the compulsory pre-trial, the parties deal with specific issues such as the stipulation of facts, for hastening the process. Petition may be denied in case the petitioner does not appear during the pre-trial. At this period, the court can also direct the matters to a mediator who can facilitate the parties in achieving a settlement on matters not prohibited by law.
This is the point where the ground for annulment is established and opposed. The court can command the exclusion from the courtroom of all persons, including members of the press, who does not have an interest over the case.
Following the conclusion of the trial the court tenders, its decision. A decision, whether granting or dismissing the petition, shall be final after the expiration of fifteen days starting from notice to the parties.
The aggrieved party or the office of the Solicitor General can appeal the decision in no more than fifteen days starting from notice of denial of the motion for reconsideration or new trial.
I. Liquidation, partition and distribution, custody, support of common children and delivery of their presumptive legitimes.
These are done upon entry of the judgment granting the petition.
J. Issuance of Decree of annulment.
The court issues the Decree after: (i) registration of the entry of judgment granting the annulment in the Civil Registry where the marriage was celebrated, and in the Civil Registry of the place where the court is located; (ii) registration of the approved partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses in the proper Register of Deeds where the real properties are located; and (iii) delivery of the children’s presumptive legitimes in cash, property, or sound securities.
K. Registration of the Decree.
The Decree must be registered in the Civil Registry where the marriage was registered, the Civil Registry of the place where the court is situated, and in the National Census and Statistics Office.