Ariel Winter will continue to stay with her older sister Shanelle Gray for the time being. L.A. County Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas decided in a November 20 ruling that placing the actress back in the care of her mom Chrisoula Workman was too risky, especially after Department of Children and Family Services submitted a report about the mother's abuse toward the daughter.
The children's services found evidence Ariel did suffer emotional abuse while she lived with her mother, but they called allegations of physical abuse "unsubstantiated." Meanwhile, a lawyer for Shanelle insisted they could be proven in a subsequent report. Regardless, the social workers at the department recommended that the sister be granted permanent guardianship of the 14-year-old star.
An attorney for Chris denied all the allegations, saying, "We really feel she's just a rebellious teen and wants her independence. It's our hope that the court terminates the guardianship. Both parents want Ariel home. Shanelle is not suitable to be a guardian." The attorney admitted that the mother was "controlling," but it didn't mean that "she's unfit."
Chris' lawyer also rebutted the recommendation made by the children's services, claiming that Shanelle was "too young" to be Ariel's guardian and that the older sister had "her own family to deal with." Accusing Shanelle and her husband of using the "Modern Family" actress for their own personal gain, the lawyer pled with the judge, "We implore the court to send the kid to her dad."
The judge, however, disagreed with Chris' attorney, noting that Shanelle had said "eloquent things" at a previous hearing about the need to heal the family. "I don't think she has ulterior motives," he concluded. Regarding the request to place Ariel in the care of her father Glenn Workman, he had doubt it would work out well.
Although Glenn previously filed a petition saying he would be a better guardian for the Ariel, Levanas pointed out his previous conflicting statement to investigators and that he could not take care of his daughter. "I have questions about the nature and strength of the relationship with her father," the judge additionally said, questioning the father-daughter bond after he moved out of the family's home.
A trial date to determine whether Ariel should go back to the family's home or live with her sister is set for December 12. The judge said he would make sure to lead the feuding family work toward reconciliation. "I guarantee if it stays here, it will get better," he vowed, adding that the children's service could still choose to file its own case regarding their findings.