If you are a father of a child whose mother wants to give that child up for adoption in New Jersey, you have some rights to the child that the court will observe. In fact, according to Adoptions From the Heart, you have the same rights as the mother, and the court cannot finalize an adoption without your consent. In any adoption situation, a child can only have two legal parents, so you would have to give up your parental rights for the adoption to proceed.
Your age does not play a role in your rights. Minors have the same parental rights, including the right to object to an adoption, as an adult. Your relationship status with the mother is also not relevant. The state requires consent from the father. The court must notify you of a pending adoption and give you the right to show up in court and object to the adoption. The court will provide you with a notice that gives you a time limit during which you must reply. If you fail to reply, then the court may strip you of your rights.
You also have the right to consent to the adoption. You will have to sign a voluntary agreement that says you give up your parental rights to the child and consent to the adoption.
If your situation is one where the mother denies you are the father or refuses to tell the court you are the father, the court is required by law to try to find you. The court must do everything possible to find the father of a child who is placed for adoption.
Your rights to your child are upheld very well by the court in an adoption. If you feel you can properly care for the child, you could stop the adoption and take custody of your child. This information is for education and is not legal advice.