Opposite Sex Civil Partnerships
On 30 September 2019, the Scottish Government introduced the Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill to the Scottish Parliament. This Bill will make civil partnership open to mixed sex couples in Scotland. Should the Bill be enacted by Parliament, it is probable that some secondary legislation will be needed. This means that mixed sex civil partnership is likely to become available in Scotland in 2021. You can find out more about the process the Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill will undergo in Parliament here.
Same Sex Civil Partnership
- By law both parties to a proposed civil partnership registration in Scotland are required to submit civil partnership notice forms to the Registrar of the district in which the civil partnership registration is to take place informing them of their intention to form a civil partnership.
- Forms and guidance for giving notice can be obtained from any Registration Office in Argyll and Bute. You will require a CP10 registration form, guidance notes are also available and a form for your witnesses. All forms can be found on the National Records of Scotland Website.
- Notice must be given in the three-month period prior to the date of the civil partnership registration and NOT LATER THAN 29 DAYS BEFORE THAT DATE. If you intend to lodge Notice in person please contact the local Registrar before doing so as an appointment may be required. Please contact your local Registrar for further information.
Who can register a Civil Partnership in Scotland
Any two persons, regardless of where they live, may register a civil partnership in Scotland provided that:
- both persons, are at least 16 years of age on the day they wish to register their civil partnership.
- They are not related to one another in a way that would prevent them registering their civil partnership.
- Each is unmarried and not already registered as a civil partner (any person who has already been married or registered as a civil partner must produce documentary evidence that the previous marriage or civil partnership registration has ended by death, divorce, annulment or dissolution),
- They are the same sex,
- They are capable of understanding the nature of civil partnership
Where to register a civil partnership
A civil partnership may be registered by a District or Assistant Registrar or a religious or belief celebrant who has been authorised by the Registrar General for that purpose or whose religious or belief body has been prescribed in regulations under the Civil Partnership Act 2004. The registration of a civil partnership by a district registrar or an assistant registrar may take place either in a registration office or in a place that the local authority agrees to. Therefore, it is important that you should contact as early as possible the registrar for the registration district in which you want to register your civil partnership.
How and when to give notice
- Each of you must complete and submit a civil partnership notice, along with the required documents and the appropriate fee, to the registrar for the district in which you want to register your civil partnership.
- Timing is important. The notices must be submitted early enough to enable the registrar to satisfy himself that you are free to register a civil partnership. Normally notices should with the registrar about 10-12 weeks. The minimum period is 29 days before the civil partnership, but if you leave things late you could be faced with the need to postpone your civil partnership registration.
- Although both parties do not need to attend personally to hand in your civil partnership notice, at least one of you may be asked to attend personally before the date of the civil partnership registration. This might be necessary to finalise arrangements with the registrar.
Documents to be produced
When giving or sending the civil partnership notice forms to the register each of you must supply the following:
- Your genuine birth certificate, or, if you are adopted your adoption certificate. An unauthorised photocopy is not acceptable. If you are unable to produce your birth or adoption certificate, state the reason.
- If you have been married or in a registered civil partnership before and the marriage or civil partnership has been dissolved or annulled, a decree of divorce or dissolution or annulment or a certified copy decree. A decree of divorce or dissolution granted outwith Scotland must be absolute or final – a decree nisi is not acceptable.
- If your spouse or civil partner is deceased, the death certificate of your former spouse or civil partner.
- If any of these documents is in a language other than English, a certified translation in English must also be provided.
- Do not delay giving notice simply because you are waiting for any of the documents mentioned above to come to hand. If time is getting short it is better to give notice first and then pass the documents to the registrar when they become available; but they must be made available to the registrar before the civil partnership registration. Provided the documents are in order the civil partnership registration can proceed as arranged.
Are you subject to immigration controls?
If you are subject to immigration controls you will have to provide extra documentation. In particular, you will need to provide a Declaration of Immigration Status form which can be obtained from the local registrar or NRS website. Evidence to support the statement you make on the Declaration of Immigration Status form will also be required. If you are in any doubt about what is required, or if you need further information, you should consult the registrar or contact NRS.
Registrars have a statutory duty to report any civil partnership they suspect has been registered for the sole purpose of evading statutory immigration controls.
Making arrangements for the civil partnership registration
It is important to make early arrangements with the person registering your civil partnership
- Contact the person registering your civil partnership before completing the notice of civil partnership if you are having a religious or belief celebrant.
- Make advance arrangements with the registrar
- Arrange for 2 persons, aged 16 or over, to be present at your civil partnership registration to act as witnesses
- Be sure to let the person registering your civil partnership know if you make any change to your plans or decide to postpone your civil partnership registration.
The civil partnership schedule
When the registrar is satisfied there is no legal impediment to the civil partnership registration, they will prepare a Civil Partnership Schedule from the information that you have given. The Schedule is a most important document- no civil partnership can proceed without it.
- If a religious or belief celebrant is registering your civil partnership the Civil Partnership Schedule will be issued to you by the Registrar. The schedule cannot be issued more than 7 days before the civil partnership and the registrar will advise you when to call to collect it. The Schedule cannot be collected on your behalf by a relative or friend - the registrar will issue it only to one or both of the parties to the intended civil partnership.
- Both parties must confirm that the particulars set out in the Civil Partnership Schedule are correct. The Schedule must be signed by both parties, the registrar and by the 2 witnesses. The registrar will then enter the relevant information onto the Civil Partnership Register
- A fee for the civil partnership registration and, if applicable, for the attendance of the registrar at an agreed authorised place is payable to the registrar in advance.
For information on converting your same sex civil partnership to a marriage view information here.