Experienced Church Attorneys and Church Property Disputes
Looking for a church attorney to assist you and your congregation? Gammon and Grange has a team of church lawyers with over 40 years of experience who specialize in assisting churches navigate complex issues.
Although churches and other religious ministries share many similar issues as other nonprofits, they also have many unique needs given their protected First Amendment status. Failing to take the proper precautions, follow government regulations, or establish transparent procedures and church bylaws can result in potential lawsuits against your church or even the loss of your church’s tax-exempt status. Our church attorneys are experienced in navigating the special issues pertaining to churches and other religious ministries.
Though disputes within churches can be often resolved internally, other matters may require you to consult with a church lawyer. When such matters arise, it’s best to consult with attorneys who are people of faith and are sensitive to the special needs and moral concerns of churches and church groups. We want to help you protect the church you worked so hard to build.
Church Governance And Church Property Disputes
Property and governance issues are often at the forefront in a church dispute:
Governance issues — These often occur when there are struggles for control within a congregation or a church body. In nonhierarchical church bodies, disputes often arise between different factions who rival for control of the church.
Church property Disputes — Disputes over property are usually a key issue when a church body splits. When a local church congregation breaks off from a larger church structure that is hierarchical in nature, disputes often arise over which body has rights in the church property.
All of these situations must be handled with the utmost care and sensitivity. Governance issues may result in religious employment litigation. When a church splits from a denomination, it is more than a matter of conflicting belief systems or leadership squabbles. Ownership of church buildings must be settled between a denomination and a congregation that is leaving that denomination. Possession and management of endowment funds may also be in question.
It is often in the best interests of both sides to resolve the property or governance question without resorting to costly litigation. However, a desire to settle church building ownership or other questions of congregational control may not be enough to avoid a major lawsuit. It is critical to find a well-qualified church attorney with experience handling church disputes, both to contain legal fees and to move forward with confidence toward a satisfactory resolution.
We have the experience to help you navigate these church property dispute and church governance issues. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your particular issue.
Success Borne Of Experience
Our law firm is a valuable resource for churches and denominations engaged in disputes over real property or governance following a church division. We are prepared to help settle these disputes in or out of court. We have an extensive track record of success on behalf of many types of churches and affiliated ministries, including:
- Episcopalian and Anglican
- Evangelical Free
- Korean Presbyterian
- Eastern Orthodox
- Roman Catholic
Protect Your Church’s Reputation And The Members Of Your Church Community
In light of the Penn State scandal and other sexual abuse scandals of recent years, there is now increased scrutiny on church leaders to handle allegations of sexual abuse expeditiously and responsibly. Now more than ever, it is absolutely vital that churches, in particular, adopt a clear sexual harassment policy for churches.
The topic of sexual abuse, particularly child sexual abuse, is not an easy one. Many church leaders may feel uncomfortable discussing these issues and may feel that a sexual abuse and harassment policy is unnecessary. If you or your church feels this way, we understand. But it is absolutely imperative to implement a sexual abuse policy in your church sooner than later in order to protect your church and the members of your church community.
We can work with your church discreetly in order to help you draft and implement an ethically and legally responsible sexual abuse policy. If your church already has such a policy in place, we can review your policy to ensure that your church and its members are protected and made fully aware of your church’s stance on sexual abuse and your church’s reporting procedure. And, if allegations against your church or church leaders have already been made, we can help your church resolve the matter through Alternative Dispute Resolution or civil litigation.