Church Ownership

Pastor's wife: Church is a divorce asset

MINEOLA, N.Y [AP] The estranged wife of a pastor claims her husband blended his professional and personal finances so thoroughly that his church should be counted as an asset in their divorce.

The wife argues that her husband of 31 years used his Brooklyn church as a "personal piggy bank," setting his own income, spending the congregation's tithes as he pleased and running a catering business from the building, according to the decision by state Supreme Court Judge Arthur M. Diamond. The couple's names were redacted from the decision.

The wife said $50,000 of the couple's money went into starting the church, and that the church property is partly hers. "That church is no different than any other business he might have opened," said the wife's lawyer, Robert Pollack. The pastor maintains he is simply a church employee, and the institution's funds should not be considered his, according to Diamond's decision.
So what do you think? Does your church have something in writing about things like this? Who owns your church? If something bad happens and the church dissolves where does the money go?


  1. I look forward to hearing what people answer, but boy, do *I* not have a dog in THIS fight!!!!

  2. Interesting story! If the wife is telling the truth, yes, it should be treated like any other business, but shame on him for mis-using church funds.

    I have always admired the pastors of churches that are not at all involved with the financial aspects of the church. I remember my former pastor telling me he had no idea who tithed what all he wanted to know was that he could trust the Board.

  3. It is kind of a mixed bag Barbara.. you need leaders to shield themselves from giving records and, at the same time, be engaged, to some degree, in the financial leadership of the church.

  4. This is what I'm talkin' about. Lines need to be made...for the protection of the church AND the pastor and family.


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