A. If a petition for terminating the parent-child relationship is contested, the court shall hold a termination adjudication hearing. The general public shall be excluded and only such persons admitted whose presence the judge finds to have a direct interest in the case or the work of the court, provided that such person so admitted shall not disclose any information secured at the hearing. The court may require the presence of any parties and witnesses it deems necessary to the disposition of the petition, except that a parent who has executed a waiver pursuant to section 8-535, or has relinquished the parent’s rights to the child shall not be required to appear at the hearing.
B. The court’s findings with respect to grounds for termination shall be based upon clear and convincing evidence under the rules applicable and adhering to the trial of civil causes. The court may consider any and all reports required by this article or ordered by the court pursuant to this article and such reports are admissible in evidence without objection.
C. If a parent does not appear at the pretrial conference, status conference or termination adjudication hearing, the court, after determining that the parent has been instructed as provided in section 8-535, may find that the parent has waived the parent’s legal rights and is deemed to have admitted the allegations of the petition by the failure to appear. The court may terminate the parent-child relationship as to a parent who does not appear based on the record and evidence presented as provided in rules prescribed by the supreme court.