Ariel Winter, one of the young stars of the hit ensemble cast TV show “Modern Family” has been in and out of family court for almost two years trying to get away from her real life mother, Chrisoula Workman, whom the now 16-year-old actress claimed was mentally and physically abusive toward her. At a May 5 hearing in Los Angeles, Superior Court Judge Daniel Murphy decreed that Winter could remain in the permanent custody of her older actress sister, Shanelle Gray, who has had temporary custody of Winter since November 2012.
In a bizarre legal maneuver, AZ Central reported that during the hearing, Winter’s mother told the court and Winter that the 16-year-old could continue living with her older sister “if she watched a video montage of family photographs in court.” All parties agreed and proceeded to watch mother Workman’s home video in the courtroom. Everyone cried during the video’s premiere; “and then Superior Court Judge Daniel Murphy signed off on the custody agreement.” That agreement was reached just before the formal custody trial was scheduled to begin.
The judge advised it would be up to Ariel to decide if and when she would visit her mother, but he would keep jurisdiction over her care until she turns 18, and her father Glenn Workman will remain in control of her finances.
To this day, the mother denies ever having ever been physically or emotionally abusive to Winter. After leaving the courtroom, Winter’s custodial sister and mother Workman issued a joint statement saying that ''The family has moved beyond the conflict.''
Winter claims to be much happier since moving in with her sister.The young actress expressed that happiness back in March 2013, according to US Weekly, when she said, "My life is definitely more normal—and that'll help me grow up like I'm supposed to."
"Like, I always wanted to be a dancer, and now I'm taking dance classes. And I didn't have many friends. It was all about work. Nowadays, my sister's like, 'You're supposed to have friends. You're supposed to go out on Friday and Saturday nights.'"
Winter has been living with her sister ever since she was 14. Her sister’s guardianship will continue until the young “Modern Family” actress turns 18 in January 2016.
Winter’s older sister was removed from her mother’s home almost 22 years ago amid allegations that her mother was also abusive to her. Gray was not only removed from Workman’s home, but also ended up in foster care for more than two years. Winter’s older sister never returned to Workman’s house.