This paper examines New York law on the rights of unwed fathers. Cases that form the constitutional basis for the recognition and limitation of the rights of unwed fathers are presented. Standards set forth by New York for determining whether an unwed father must consent to a nonmarital child's pending adoption are presented. Fathers with due process rights with respect to voluntary surrenders and termination of parental rights involving their nonmarital children are identified. Situations in which adoptions can proceed without the consent of an unwed father are discussed. Situations in which unwed fathers have been unable to meet the specific statutory criteria for paternal rights are examined, including incarceration, drug addiction, no notice of the child's existence, and interference by the mother or other relatives to prevent the establishment of a paternal relationship with the child. In addition, the issue of delays in adoptions is addressed.
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