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In effect, the act of the couple representing themselves to others as being married, and organizing their relation as if they were married, acts as the evidence that they are married.The term common-law marriage has wide informal use, often to denote relations that are not legally recognized as common-law marriages.The term common-law marriage is often used colloquially or by the media to refer to cohabiting couples, regardless of any legal rights that these couples may or may not have, which can create public confusion both in regard to the term and in regard to the legal rights of unmarried partners.The term "common-law marriage" is often used incorrectly to describe various types of couple relationships, such as cohabitation (whether or not registered), or other legally formalized relations.Common-law marriage, also known as sui iuris marriage, informal marriage, marriage by habit and repute, or marriage in fact, is a legal framework in a limited number of jurisdictions where a couple is legally considered married, without that couple having formally registered their relation as a civil or religious marriage.



Family property laws, however, are excepted from jurisdiction when a person is both married and in a de facto relationship at the same time. Same-sex de facto relationships have been recognized in New South Wales since 1999.In ancient Greek and Roman civilization, marriages were private agreements between individuals and families.Community recognition of a marriage was largely what qualified it as a marriage.Since March 1, 2009 de facto relationships have been recognized in the Family Law Act (Commonwealth), applicable in states that have referred their jurisdiction on de facto couples to the Commonwealth's jurisdiction.

In Western Australia, the only state that has not referred its jurisdiction, state legislation is still valid.

There is also no federal recognition of de facto relationships existing outside of Australia (see Section 51(xxxvii) of the Australian Constitution), and so this is also a state matter.