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I posted these examples on another grammar site awhile back, and I just want to get a second opinion.

Is my comma usage correct in the following examples?

"The parties were awarded joint custody, with the mother having primary residence and the father having visitations."

"The mother is filing against the father for custody of the subject child, in that temporary custody shall be with the mother and the father's rights of visitation shall be suspended."

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Hi, Jacob,

@Jacob B. posted:

"The parties were awarded joint custody, with the mother having primary residence and the father having visitations."

The comma above is fine because the absolute construction starting with "with" explains what the joint custody consisted of.

@Jacob B. posted:

"The mother is filing against the father for custody of the subject child, in that temporary custody shall be with the mother and the father's rights of visitation shall be suspended."

I'm not sure that "in that" is a correct linker in the sentence above, as it is usually used to introduce in what respect the preceding statement is true, which I don't think is the case here.

I would have written the sentence above as follows:

- The mother is filing an action against the father for custody of the subject child, whereby / according to which temporary custody shall be with the mother and the father's rights of visitation shall be suspended.

Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator

I'm not sure that "in that" is a correct linker in the sentence above, as it is usually used to introduce in what respect the preceding statement is true, which I don't think is the case here.

I would have written the sentence above as follows:

- The mother is filing an action against the father for custody of the subject child, whereby / according to which temporary custody shall be with the mother and the father's rights of visitation shall be suspended.

I agree with Gustavo that the comma is fine in the first example, for the reason he gives, and that, regardless of the comma, "in that" sounds questionable in the second example.

In addition to the two options Gustavo mentions, you might also consider "such that" or an old-fashioned infinitival absolute construction. Note that the latter option involves changing "shall" to "to" and deleting the linker:

(i) The mother is filing against the father for custody of the subject child, such that temporary custody shall be with the mother and the father's rights of visitation shall be suspended.

(ii) The mother is filing against the father for custody of the subject child, temporary custody to be with the mother and the father's rights of visitation to be suspended

I agree with Gustavo that the comma is fine in the first example, for the reason he gives, and that, regardless of the comma, "in that" sounds questionable in the second example.

In addition to the two options Gustavo mentions, you might also consider "such that" or an old-fashioned infinitival absolute construction. Note that the latter option involves changing "shall" to "to" and deleting the linker:

(i) The mother is filing against the father for custody of the subject child, such that temporary custody shall be with the mother and the father's rights of visitation shall be suspended.

(ii) The mother is filing against the father for custody of the subject child, temporary custody to be with the mother and the father's rights of visitation to be suspended

If I wanted to use "such that" when there is already a current custody agreement, am I correct in writing the following:

"The mother is filling against the father for a modification to the current custody order concerning the subject child, such that temporary custody shall be with the mother and the father's rights of visitation shall be suspended."

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