generally, BEFORE the first appintment Cafcass will do basic risk assessment checks - this involves hecking for each adult whether that person is known to the plice, probabtion or social services.
At the first appointment, a Duty Cafcass officer is generally present. They will try to talk to each of you (normally they will aim to see you both together, if this is practical) to see what your respective positions are and whether the Cafcass Officer can facilitate any kind of agreement.
If not, theCafcass Officer will then advise the Court as to whether they feel that a Cafcass report is needed or would be helpful, and if so, what the report should cover. If the Court feels that a report is needed, then an order is made for a report to be prepared, This takes time -usually 8 - 14 weeks dependng on what kind of report has been ordered, although different areas may have diferent timescales depending on how busy Cafcass is.
Normally the report is then sent to both parties about a week before you next have a court hearing, so yes, you will see any report.
At the first hearing, the aim is to see whether any agreement can be reached then and there, and if not, for the Judge / Magistrates to decide what further information, evidence or reports they are ikelyto need in order to be able to make a final decision, they will then make orders to get that information / evidene - for example, by ordering a Cafcass report, ordering statements from you and your ex etc.
they will then set a date to come back to court once all of that additional inforamtion is available.
in most caes, contact will continue on the current basis in the mean time.