A SUNSHINE Coast law firm has provided same-sex couples with an interim solution to formalising their relationships while the marriage debate continues in parliament.
Garland Waddington Solicitors have suggested same-sex couples waiting for a legislative decision on marriage equality could register their relationship with the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Family lawyer at the firm Micaela Chomley said while same-sex couples were not currently afforded the right to marry, registering their relationship would formalise their de facto status.
"I understand it's not the same thing as getting married, however registering a relationship is a way of formally acknowledging the relationship exists and protecting the rights of both parties," she said.
"There was a recent case in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia where a same-sex couple had parted ways and couldn't agree on a property settlement.
"When the application for a property settlement between two men, who were previously a couple, was presented in court, the judge determined that a de facto relationship did not exist between the parties and therefore there was no jurisdiction for the court to make orders.
"If the couple had formally registered their relationship through the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages they would have been deemed a de facto couple and the outcome in court may have been very different."
Ms Chomley said registering a relationship was easy and inexpensive and could be done by heterosexual couples as well.
"If for some reason the two parties are unable to get married, however they want to formally protect their rights, it is a real solution to formalise the relationship and protect their assets."