A married Brooklyn pastor has built a very successful congregation during his 30 year marriage.
His wife, who is divorcing him, contends that he runs and profits from the church just the same as though it were a business.
Hardly a first time scenario in the news.
But the wife’s contention that the husband’s church should be treated like a marital asset, subject to equitable distribution in the divorce, is a rare divorce tactic.
And, at least in New York, what is a first is the judge’s appointment of a forensic accountant to examine the church’s books and operations, with a view toward valuing and equitably distributing the church.
The wife alleges that the pastor runs a catering business out of the million dollar church building, applies collected donations to personal expenses (including a mistress), and determines his own salary at will.
In other words, her position is: if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck …
The wife also claims that she provided $50,000 in “startup money” for the church business. The Husbands responds that it was a “donation”.
This case certainly opens up a can of worms that could have far-reaching ramifications for so-called nonprofits involved in divorce.
Who knows who will be following more closely, divorce attorneys or the IRS?