Is a separation agreement the same as a prenuptial agreement?

People who are not lawyers often use the term "separation agreement" to cover any agreement between a couple, such as a prenuptial or antenuptial agreement, but this is incorrect. A prenuptial agreement is created before ("pre") the wedding ("nuptial") and is a contract that will govern the couple during and after the marriage. It essentially redefines and highlights the rights and duties of the spouses that are expressed or implied by law. The prenuptial agreement is signed before a marriage. This type of agreement is often entered into when one spouse has a lot of money and/or assets and does not want to risk losing that money due to a divorce.

On the other hand, a separation agreement is a "postnuptial" agreement, signed upon the contemplation of separation or divorce; in other words, the end of a marriage. The separation agreement is the device to layout in words as a binding contract exactly what the terms of the separation and potentially divorce will be.