(a) Hearing by Judge. The adjudicatory hearing shall be conducted by the judge without a jury using the rules of evidence for civil cases. At this hearing the court shall determine whether the elements required by law for termination of parental rights have been established by clear and convincing evidence.
(b) Time of Hearing. The adjudicatory hearing shall be held within 45 days after the advisory hearing, unless all necessary parties stipulate to some other hearing date. Reasonable continuances may be granted for purposes of investigation, discovery, procuring counsel or witnesses, or for other good cause shown.
(c) Examination of Witnesses. A party may call any person, including a child, as a witness. A party shall have the right to examine or cross-examine all witnesses.
(d) Presence of Parties. All parties have the right to be present at all termination hearings. A party may appear in person or, at the discretion of the court for good cause shown, by communication technology. No party shall be excluded from any hearing unless so ordered by the court for disruptive behavior or as provided by law. If a parent appears for the advisory hearing and the court orders that parent to personally appear at the adjudicatory hearing for the petition for termination of parental rights, stating the date, time, and location of this hearing, then failure of that parent to personally appear at the adjudicatory hearing shall constitute consent for termination of parental rights.
(e) Examination of Child. The court may hear the testimony of the child outside the physical presence of the parties as provided by rule 8.255. Counsel for the parties shall be present during all examinations. The court may limit the manner in which counsel examine the child.
(f) Previous Testimony Admissible. To avoid unnecessary duplication of expenses, in-court testimony previously given at any properly noticed hearing may be admitted, without regard to the availability of the witnesses, if the recorded testimony itself is made available. Consideration of previous testimony does not preclude the parties from calling the witness to answer supplemental questions.
(g) Joint and Separate Hearings. When 2 or more children are the subject of a petition for termination of parental rights, the hearings may be held simultaneously if the children are related to each other or involved in the same case, unless the court orders separate hearings.
(h) Motion for Judgment of Dismissal. In all termination of parental rights proceedings, if at the close of the evidence for the petitioner the parents move for a judgment of dismissal and the court is of the opinion that the evidence is insufficient to sustain the grounds for termination alleged in the petition, it shall enter an order denying the termination and proceed with dispositional alternatives as provided by law.
(i) Advisement of Right to Appeal and File Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Motion. At the conclusion of the adjudicatory hearing, the court must orally inform the parents of the right to appeal any order terminating parental rights to the district court of appeal and the right to file a motion in the circuit court claiming that counsel provided ineffective assistance.
(1) Terminating Parental Rights.
(A) If the court finds after all of the evidence has been presented that the elements and one of the grounds for termination of parental rights have been established by clear and convincing evidence, the court shall enter a written order terminating parental rights and proceed with dispositional alternatives as provided by law within 30 days after conclusion of the adjudicatory hearing.
(B) The order must contain the findings of fact and conclusions of law on which the decision was based. The court shall include the dates of the adjudicatory hearing in the order.
(C) The order must include a brief statement informing the parents of the right to appeal the order to the district court of appeal and the right to file a motion in the circuit court alleging that counsel provided ineffective assistance and a brief explanation of the procedure for filing such a claim.
(D) The parties may stipulate, or the court may order, that parents or relatives of the parent whose rights are terminated be allowed to maintain some contact with the child. If the court orders continued contact, the nature and frequency of this contact must be stated in a written order. The visitation order may be reviewed on motion of any party, including a prospective adoptive parent, and must be reviewed by the court at the time the child is placed for adoption.
(2) Denying Termination of Parental Rights. If the court finds after all of the evidence has been presented that the grounds for termination of parental rights have not been established by clear and convincing evidence, but that the grounds for dependency have been established by a preponderance of the evidence, the court shall adjudicate or readjudicate the child dependent and proceed with dispositional alternatives as provided by law.
(3) Dismissing Petition. If the court finds after all of the evidence has been presented that the allegations in the petition do not establish grounds for dependency or termination of parental rights, it shall enter an order dismissing the petition.