Some of our readers may have heard that one of the young stars of the hit television comedy “Modern Family” has been going through a decidedly unfunny family saga in her real life. Actress Ariel Winter, who plays Alex Dunphy on the critically-acclaimed sitcom, moved out of her mother’s home and in with her adult sister amid allegations that her mother was physically and emotionally abusive to her.
Since then, her mother has been fighting for guardianship of her daughter, which the older sister was awarded on a temporary basis in 2012. Shortly before the trial over her guardianship was scheduled to begin, the actress’s mother agreed to stop pursuing the case.
The judge formally awarded guardianship of Winter to her older sister. Meanwhile, her father will control her finances until she is 18. According to website IMDb, Winter is now 16. The judge also said it was up to Winter to decide if and when to see her mother.
In an emotional courtroom scene, the teen’s mother contended that she “never abused” her child. Investigators with child protective services in an early review reported that they believed she had emotionally abused her daughter, but that they could not determine with certainty that she had physically abused her.
The mother agreed to drop her pursuit of guardianship on one condition: that her daughter watch a photo montage of the family before they left court. That stipulation was granted. However, Winter’s brother’s request that the courtroom be closed while the video played was not. The mother and older sister later released a statement that the family was trying to reconcile and had “moved beyond the conflict.”
No family wants to get to the point where guardianship of a child or any loved one has to be determined by a court. However, for some families in Florida and throughout the country, that is the best, and perhaps the only, way to ensure the protection and care of that person. Family law attorneys can advise people on the best course of action in these situations and help represent their interests during what is often a trying ordeal.
Source: ABC News, “Settlement Reached in Guardianship of ‘Modern Family’ Actress” Anthony McCartney, AP, May. 05, 2014