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Is a separation agreement the same thing as a divorce agreement?

Strictly speaking, no. A separation agreement is created when a legal separation is in place. A divorce agreement is signed when the final decree of divorce has been ordered by court.

However, since separation agreements are often incorporated into divorce agreements after the couple’s divorce is finalized, and since a separation agreement is often signed when a couple is separated and living apart in contemplation of divorce, many people refer to divorce agreements as separation agreements. Be aware that they are slightly different, but to many people, lawyers included, such terms are used interchangeably.

In this booklet we will use the term "separation agreement" for any postnuptial agreement, that is, any agreement made in connection with the dissolution of a marriage (divorce), except where it is important to distinguish between a separation agreement and a divorce agreement.