Many New York readers may be familiar with the popular TV comedy, "Modern Family." The show celebrates the American family in all of the various and unique forms it can take in today's society. Fans may be surprised to hear, though, that one of the show's young stars is caught up in a modern family dispute that could remove her from her mother's custody.
Ariel Winter, who plays Alex Dunphy on the show, was temporarily removed to her adult sister's custody after allegations were raised against her mother. The older sister claims that her mother was emotionally abusive to Ariel, stating that she repeatedly slapped Ariel and called her hurtful names. As a result, Ariel's sister has asked to court to grant her permanent guardianship of the 14-year-old girl.
Ariel's mother denies any allegations of abuse. Her attorney noted that although the mother may be considered controlling, "A controlling mother does not mean she's unfit."
Despite this, a judge chose to extend Ariel's stay with her older sister by several weeks, after an investigation by child protective services revealed evidence of emotional abuse in the mother's home. No evidence of physical abuse was found, though an attorney for Ariel's sister claimed allegations of physical abuse would be proven in a future report.
It's unclear how long it will take to reach a decision in Winter's case. Child custody cases such as this one can become very emotional and acrimonious, especially in situations that involve allegations of abuse. In a custody case, both sides want what is best for the child, but they usually disagree over what that is. Given the strong feelings parents have for their children, it's hardly surprising that such disputes can become contentious. In such situations, then, it's important that parents and guardians have the professional assistance they require to help determine the legalities of the situation and reach an outcome that serves the best interests of the child.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Ariel Winter Custody: Fight Over 'Modern Family' Star Returns To Court," Anthony McCartney, Nov. 20, 2012