De Facto

Latin, meaning "in fact" or "actually." Something that exists in fact but not as a matter of law.

Source: U.S. Courts


A term meaning "in actual fact", "in deed" or "actually", regardless of legal or normative standards. In a legal context, the phrase refers to an action or a state of affairs which must be accepted for all practical purposes, but which has no legal basis. A "de facto family" is a "psychological family" in which members have ties to each other even though they are relatives by birth or marriage and do not have a legal document recognizing their relationship.

Source: Children Welfare Information Gateway