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Law Blog

  • Church Building Issues

    Church Building Issues

    Whether you are seeking to expand, relocate, renovate or merge your church with another congregation, it is important to understand real estate laws and have an effective decision-making process to move forward with your church endeavors.

    It pays to:

    • Evaluate your long-term building needs before making decisions or proposing a plan to the congregation. How do you envision your congregation growing in coming decades? What direction will your church be going in? Will social services be expanded? What populations will you be serving? Will the facilities allow you to fulfill your mission well into the future?
    • Obtain plans and compare costs. If you are undecided about renovating and expanding on existing property, compare the costs of renovation expansion with the cost of purchasing land and building a church from the ground up.
    • Don’t reinvent the wheel. Talk to other pastors and church boards that have gone through an expansion, relocation, sale or merger. Drawing on the experiences and lessons of others can save church committees time, stress and money.
    • Think about location. If you are purchasing a new site, note that parishioners for the most part like to attend church in their own community. Will churchgoers have access on frontage roads? Will the church be off of a main highway for convenience?
    • Evaluate the amount of land needed. A general rule that some real estate professionals use is one acre for every 100–120 people. If you are planning day care, include additional acreage.

    Talk to an Attorney Who Understands the Unique Issues Facing Churches in Transition

    Lonnie Woods is a seasoned, trustworthy attorney with extensive experience in real estate law and church law. He represents nonprofit churches in all types of legal matters, including issues involving the renovation, relocation, merging, expansion, sale or purchase of a church. Mr. Woods is also an ordained minister committed to protecting the rights of religious organizations.

    Talk to a church attorney at The Woods Law Firm, PC, in Arlington, TX, about your legal concerns. Call for a free initial consultation at 817-751-7111 or contact us online.

  • Protect Churches From Personal Injury Liability

    Address Legal Concerns Involving Pastor or Church Board Disputes and Personal Injury Liability

    Churches and other religious organizations by their very nature face unique issues of personal injury liability. They must rely not just on employees, but also on volunteers and lay leaders to teach and minister. They are often committed to ministering to vulnerable people who are suffering, including addicts and homeless people. They may also allow other religious or nonprofit organizations to use their facilities.

    All of these acts of charity put churches at risk. Situations that have resulted in churches being sued include:

    • Lay leaders abusing minors
    • Addicts or other homeless individuals abusing minors or another person
    • Lack of supervision leading to an accident (negligent supervision)
    • Pastor making sexually inappropriate advances to vulnerable females
    • Failure to report an incidence of child abuse discerned during a confidential counseling session in a state where mandatory reporting is required.

    It is important that church and lay leaders be informed of potential liability issues and proactively address these risks. In this case, an ounce of prevention may save the church from costly, heart-wrenching litigation.

    Situations can arise even under the most innocent of circumstances. For instance, in 2008, an elderly woman died after eating beef at a church social buffet at Salem Lutheran Church in Longville, Minnesota. Several other people also became very sick. The beef had E. coli bacteria.

    The source was tracked back to Nebraska Beef. The processing plant’s beef was tested and found positive for E. coli. Nonetheless, in an outrageous move, Nebraska Beef turned around and sued the church, blaming it for the E. coli contamination.

    Lonnie Woods is a seasoned attorney whose practice centers on church law. Based in Arlington, Texas, Mr. Woods offers legal guidance that includes managing and advising on issues involving pastor disputes, church board disputes, church liability issues, buying and selling real estate for church purposes and more.
    An ordained minister as well as a lawyer, Mr. Woods is dedicated to serving the legal needs of churches. He is here to help, serving nonprofit communities throughout Texas, including in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

    Speak with a trustworthy, caring church law attorney who can knowledgeably answer your questions and offer guidance on how to protect your rights. Please call for a free initial consultation at 817-751-7111 or contact us online.

  • Texas Divorce: What Is Marital Property?

    Divorce can be complex. One complexity can involve the distribution of marital property, also referred to as the division of marital assets. In dividing property, there are two central issues: Is the property marital property or community property, and, if so, what is the value of the property?

    Before value can be examined, there is an underlying question that must be answered: Is the property in question community property or separate property? Community property is subject to division in a divorce; separate property goes to the individual who owns the property and is not subject to division in a divorce.

    Typically, assets brought into a marriage (e.g., a house or car) are separate property and assets purchased during a marriage are community property. However, the line gets a little murky when assets are co-mingled or community money is used to finance part of the separate property brought into the marriage.

    For example, your spouse owned a home when you were married and still owns that home today. However, funds from the marriage were used to keep the house up, pay for improvements and make payments on the mortgage. In this case, the house will likely remain separate property, but you would still be entitled to half of the marital money that went into the payment, upkeep or improvement of the home.

    If you are seeking a divorce or have been served with divorce papers, please seek counsel from an experienced divorce lawyer to ensure your interests are adequately protected and you have an advocate who will fight on your behalf for everything you are entitled to. Retaining an experienced family law attorney will ensure you have effective representation and fully understand your options.

    For those with divorce or family law matters in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area, including division of property issues, we invite you to contact the Woods Law Firm for a confidential consultation by calling 817-751-7111, or you can elect to fill out our contact intake form and we will contact you.

Protect Churches From Personal Injury Liability

Address Legal Concerns Involving Pastor or Church Board Disputes and Personal Injury Liability Churches and other religious organizations by their …

Texas Divorce: What Is Marital Property?

Divorce can be complex. One complexity can involve the distribution of marital property, also referred to as the division of …

Texas Justice Is Tough On Juvenile Crime

Texas has long been known for being tough on juvenile crime. According to a 2007 study performed by the Center …

Beware: Insurance Agents and Claims Adjusters Do Not Have Your Best Interests In Mind

When proposing a settlement after a car accident, insurance agents and claims adjusters do not have your best interests in …

Do I Really Need A Personal Injury Lawyer?

Do I really need a lawyer? This is one of the first questions people ask themselves when they are in …

Presenting Your Defense to Mortgage Foreclosure in North Texas

Clients of the Woods Law Firm, P.C., benefit from our practical advice and experience in Texas real estate law and …

Understanding Your Mortgage Options in Dallas Fort Worth

Many homeowners who purchased or refinanced their homes in the overheated real estate markets prior to 2007 find themselves in …

Dallas Fort Worth Foreclosure Defense Attorney

Experienced Representation to Help You Keep Your Home Are you facing financial challenges and are behind on your mortgage? Were …

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When you need a lawyer you can trust to personally handle your matters with a high degree of skill and professional care, we invite you to get in touch with The Woods Law Firm. We will gladly arrange an appointment to explore how an attorney–client relationship with our firm can benefit you. You may arrange a consultation to discuss your legal concerns by calling 817-751-7111.

Serving clients in Arlington, Bedford, Colleyville, Euless, Hurst, Keller, North Richland Hills and other communities throughout Dallas County and Tarrant County. The Woods Law Firm, P.C. is an Arlington, Texas Law Firm focusing on the practice areas of Real Estate Law, Personal Injury, Divorce, Criminal Law and Church Law. We serve local communities of Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Colleyville, North Richland Hills and Keller. In addition our law firm represents Texas residents in all cities in Dallas County and Tarrant County. Contact Us Today to discuss your case with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Arlington TX.