Long before civil or criminal law, religious systems regulated families of a wide variety of shapes and sizes. And long before religious systems, people were forming families. Families have been a fundamental social institution since the dawn of humankind. This course will explore the relationship between modern American law and the oldest and most basic societal association - the family. We will look how law deals with evolving concepts of family, with the intersection of religion and law as it relates to family, and with the government's interest in particular families and in particular aspects of family life. We will look at marriage, children, family ownership of property, and what happens when families break up. We will also pay extra attention to situations where the government has set (or has tried to set) the rules of family life - i.e. laws.