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As of today, 1 June 2021, amendments to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 by the Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2020 allow mixed sex couples in Scotland to enter a civil partnership.

By virtue of the 2004 Act, two people of the opposite sex have not previously been eligible to register in Scotland as civil partners of one another.

This has, however, changed. Prospective mixed sex civil partners are able to submit a notice of intention to enter a mixed sex civil partnership to their local registrar from 1 June.

As with marriage, a notice for entering a mixed sex civil partnership must be submitted a minimum of 29 days prior to the date on which the couple wish their civil partnership to be registered. This period can be disregarded under certain circumstances.

Under the 2004 Act, the registration can be implemented by the local authority registrar or a celebrant of a religious or belief body prescribed by Scottish Ministers. Members of a religious or belief body not prescribed by the Scottish Ministers can be nominated to the Registrar General and given the authority to register a mixed sex civil partnership.

Further requirements include that the couple must be present for registration to occur. Two witnesses over 16 years of age must also be present.

The option to enter a mixed sex civil partnership will be welcomed by many. Couples should be aware, however, that entering a mixed sex civil partnership has significant legal and tax implications.

Couples would, therefore, be well advised to take the opportunity to consider estate planning issues, such as the preparation of Wills and Powers of Attorney, alongside entering a civil partnership.

Our Private Client team would be delighted to assist with any taxation or estate planning queries.

To begin providing instructions for a Will or Power of Attorney now, please see our Settify tool.

For further information on mixed sex civil partnerships, the NRS and Scottish Government websites should be consulted.

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