42-2-616. Appearance of parent at hearing -- determination of custody. (1) If a parent appears at the hearing on the petition to terminate parental rights, objects to the termination of rights, and requests custody of the child, the court shall set deadlines that allow the parties to complete discovery and shall set a hearing on the determination of the parent's rights to the child.
(2) At the hearing, the court shall consider whether there is a basis for terminating parental rights and whether the best interests of the child will be served by granting custody to the respondent parent, the department, a licensed child-placing agency, or a prospective adoptive parent in a direct parental placement adoption.
(3) If the petitioner has established that there are grounds for terminating parental rights and it is in the best interests of the child for termination to occur, those rights must be terminated.