If the other spouse did not co-sign the petition, the tribunal will contact that spouse – the respondent – who has a right to be involved.
In some cases the respondent does not wish to become involved; the case can still move forward.
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If the tribunal decides in favor of the nullity of the marriage, the parties are then free to marry in the Catholic Church, unless an appeal of the decision is lodged or the decision includes a prohibition against one or both of the parties marrying until certain underlying issues have been resolved (see Code of Canon Law, 1682.1). The length will depend upon the type of process that is followed, e.g., the ordinary judicial process, the process before the bishop, a documentary process, or a process before a Roman court.
Your diocesan tribunal will be able to give you a more exact estimate based upon your case.
The length of common life is not proof of validity but a long marriage does provide evidence that a couple had some capacity for a life-long commitment.
It does not prove or disprove the existence of a valid marriage bond.
The Catholic Church respects the marriages of non-Catholics and presumes that they are valid.