At a Final Hearing the Judge will consider all of the available evidence, this will include evidence provided by the parties, any relevant Cafcass reports and information that has been provided by the Local Authority. If there has been a Fact Finding hearing the Judge will also take into account any findings made in the course of those proceedings.
Using all of this information the Judge will assess and come to a decision guided by the welfare of the child involved. Judges will then use the evidence before them in conjunction with the ‘welfare checklist’ in order to come to a decision which is in the best interests of the child.
The Judge may decide to make no order, or may consider that a Child Arrangements Order detailing residence and/or contact arrangements is necessary. There is an example of a Child Arrangements Order here.