Church property disputes can arise in a variety of ways. In some cases, a church congregation splits over a doctrinal issue or the retention of a minister, with both groups claiming ownership of the church property. In other cases, a congregation votes to disaffiliate from a parent denomination, and the denomination asserts that it now owns the church's property. There are many other ways in which such disputes may occur. The courts have developed a number of rules for resolving such disputes, and these rules are described in the following sections.
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