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Church Property - Part 1

A Michigan court ruled that a regional church had the legal authority to control the property of a local church that attempted to disaffiliate.

Key point 7-03.2. Some courts apply the "compulsory deference" rule in resolving disputes over the ownership and control of property in "hierarchical" churches. Under this rule, the civil courts defer to the determinations of denominational agencies in resolving such disputes.

State Court Rulings Regarding Church Property Disputes
Internal Property Dispute Resolution Procedures

* A Michigan court ruled that a regional church had the legal authority to control the property of a local church that attempted to disaffiliate. The court noted that the United States Supreme Court has approved the resolution of church property disputes on the basis of "neutral principles of law," but concluded that this approach is not required. The court applied a "theory of hierarchy" as the "preferred approach" in Michigan. Under this approach, if "a religious organization is but a subordinate part of a general ...

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Posted:
  • July 1, 2004

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