Operating a church comes with its fair share of legal challenges and risks. There are several potential church legal issues that can arise in any religious organization. Attorneys experienced in this specific area of law, can help protect a church’s interests and avoid lengthy and expensive legal battles so churches can focus on their important mission. Here are some of the most common reasons why religious organizations face lawsuits.
1. Property Disputes
Whether your church owns one building, multiple pieces of property or has multiple church campuses, legal issues can arise with each of those. Church law attorneys can help a church defend against legal claims such as:
- Property ownership disputes
- Eminent domain
- Adverse possession
- Restrictive covenants
- Zoning and municipal restrictions
Churches can face property lawsuits from a municipality, denominational organization, private party, or one of its own members.
2. Child Abuse Claims
Sadly, the abuse of children is a common risk shared by churches. Perpetrators of abuse may be staff members, volunteers, congregants or visitors. If a staff member or volunteer of the church commits abuse or the abuse occurs on church property or during a church-sanctioned event, criminal or civil lawsuits are likely to follow. If this occurs, it is important to contact a lawyer for churches right away.
There are steps that can be taken to help prevent these types of issues from happening, such as adopting anti-abuse policies, requiring regular training for church staff and volunteers. Churches should also conduct thorough background checks of staff and volunteers in order to mitigate against abuse situations from occurring.
3. Personal Injuries
Churches have a legal responsibility to ensure their staff, congregants and visitors are safe. If someone is injured while on church property or while participating in a church-sponsored event, the injured person may file a lawsuit against the church. Common claims against churches may involve unsafe conditions, inadequate supervision of activities or negligent vehicle operation during trips involving church business.
At Anthony | Kennedy, PLLC, the Church Law Group, we advise churches and religious organizations on how to prevent and respond to all types of legal risks. Contact a church lawyer in our office today to schedule a consultation. Call us at (972) 444-8777 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.