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Dalton and Tomich white logo

Attorneys for

Religious Property
Denominational Departures
New Church Entities

Are you ready to leave your denomination and want to keep your property? We can help.

We help churches navigate the Trust Clause and come out stronger on the other side.

It is true that if you decide to sever your relationship with the denomination, legal issues over property ownership will arise. One thing that keeps many churches from leaving their denomination is a Trust Clause, cannon, or reversionary interest claim in a denominational constitution. 

It is no secret that the denominations are anything but united. Debates of theology, leadership, property ownership, and more have reached a tipping point. To make matters worse, denominations claim that they have a clear path out but refuse to allow local churches to leave. 

But it is a myth that the Trust Clause cannot be broken. We have helped dozens of churches just like yours leave denominations with ownership of their building and property. Our experienced team of church dispute and church split law attorneys are ready to put their experience to use for you. 

Does this sound like you?

If this is you, the time to leave is now

The wait-and-see approach needs to be fixed. Cash-strapped denominations are experiencing church closings every day and taking their properties. Take back control of your congregation and take the next step. Call our office today to begin the journey to your church’s flourishing future.

reading the Bible
reading the Bible
church exterior at sunset
church exterior at sunset

Who really owns your building?

It is not the denomination. Your church likely holds the deed to the church and pays for the property, the insurance, maintenance, and other elements that typically signify ownership. So, how could it be that you do not own your property?

It really depends on state law and how they apply Trust Clauses. But the bottom line is that the denomination only sometimes wins and there is a path to keep your building. If you truly feel led to leave the denomination, you are not a prisoner to the Trust Clause.

You can challenge the Trust Clause – let Dalton & Tomich help.

The attorneys at Dalton & Tomich have experience in church property disputes and denominational splits and are aware of the issues that must 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.

FREE eBOOK: Leaving the Presbyterian Church USA

This guide to leaving the PCUSA answers the most common questions that arise during disaffiliation and gives you action times to begin the process of leaving.

A 4-Step Process to Leaving a denomination and keeping your property

Dalton & Tomich has experience representing hundreds of churches just like yours as they have exited denominations. We know how to navigate the legal process, and we’ll be with you every step of the way.

1. Form A Leadership Team

Your church needs to choose responsible people carefully—ideally with management, finance, and human resources backgrounds— committed to meeting weekly to lead your church out of the denomination. We will advise you on how to form this team.

2. Inventory What You Own

We conduct a thorough inventory of what property the local congregation owns and how the assets are titled, which informs the legal steps that might or might not be taken when the church departs from the denomination.

3. Work With Experienced Religious Property Attorneys To Prepare Governance Documents

Because the annual conference likely owns the name of your church and the Methodist name is trademarked, we will work with local counsel to assist you in creating a new legal entity/local church. This will become the new entity used to litigate church property ownership.

4. Litigate or Negotiate The Ownership of Church Property

After we work with you to complete the above three steps, and depending on your state, what the church owns, its debt, and other factors, we will prepare to negotiate or litigate the church property ownership with the conference or local district.

What your Church should know when considering leaving the Presbyterian Church USA

FREE eBOOK: Leaving the United Methodist Church

This guide to leaving the UMC answers the most common questions that arise during disaffiliation and gives you action times to begin the process of leaving.

Everything you need to know about leaving the UMC

Be assured that Dalton & Tomich will help your church from beginning to end, and discretion and security are of primary importance during the process. Your pastor’s and church’s confidentiality are protected the entire time, and the Bishop is not notified of the new church’s incorporation until it is appropriate and necessary.

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