Church Property Disputes and Denominational Splits

If your congregation has decided to sever its relationship with a denomination, whether it be for differences over theological issues or other areas of disagreement, significant legal issues over property ownership will arise. One such legal issue in a denominational split is in dispensing with the real and personal property that is typically held in trust by the denomination to determine ownership of the local congregation’s property. This is a topic tied closely to state law interpretation of trust clauses and the application of either “hierarchical deference” or “neutral-principles of law.” The application of either source of law is based on whether the local congregation is a “congregational” or “hierarchical” religious body.

The attorneys at Dalton & Tomich, PLC have experience in church property disputes and denominational splits and are aware of the issues that need to be resolved. We are frequently engaged by local congregations seeking to leave their denominations throughout the United States. Contact us today to speak with an experienced attorney about your case.

We can help you meet your goals.

The attorneys of Dalton & Tomich, PLC have the experience and the knowledge to work with you to develop a legal solution that helps you accomplish your goals.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Our free guide to leaving the United Methodist Church answers the most common questions that arise for local churches entering this complex, but navigable, process. The step-by-step guide summarizes the actionable insights that have proven most helpful to our clients. While the guide will not answer all of your questions and should not be interpreted as providing legal advice, we hope you find it helpful as your local church embarks on a new journey.