'Modern Family's' Ariel Winter Placed in Sister's Custody

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on November 08, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

"Modern Family" star Ariel Winter, who plays the precocious Alex Dunphy on the ABC comedy, is now living with her real-life sister Shanelle Gray, after a judge granted her temporary guardianship last month.

The Oct. 3 decision was based on allegations of physical and emotional abuse against Winter's mother, Crystal Workman. According to court filings obtained by gossip website TMZ, Workman was accused of hitting and slapping her daughter as well as spewing insults and calling her names.

Similar allegations led to Gray being removed from the family home almost 20 years ago. But Workman denies that any abuse took place.

Workman has been ordered to stay away from her daughter by the terms of the court's ruling, but she insists the abuse allegations are untrue, reports New York Daily News.

As evidence, Workman mentions a doctor's letter denying any abuse. But that may not help her case.

"Modern Family's" Ariel Winter, who's 14, doesn't appear to have claimed the kind of abuse that leaves physical marks, according to TMZ. But that doesn't make her claims any less problematic.

Even if emotional abuse doesn't leave physical scars, it can still cause significant damage and is a reason to remove a child from her home.

In fact, if you suspect a child you love is being abused, you may be able to act as a temporary guardian to help the child get out of that situation. To find out more, contact an attorney in your area who can help you figure the best course of action.

Because Gray was given custody as a temporary guardian, it's likely Workman wasn't present at the hearing. Temporary guardianship is often given as an emergency measure without the alleged abuser present. A full hearing is typically scheduled for a few weeks later, when both sides get to present their cases.

It sounds almost too much like a situation of art imitating life, given the themes depicted on "Modern Family." A guardianship hearing on the abuse allegations is scheduled for Nov. 20.

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