Christopher Polk/Getty Images
Christopher Polk/Getty Images
Ariel Winter isn't going anywhere.
A judge has extended sister Shanelle Gray's temporary guardianship by at least a few weeks after investigators from the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services reported that they found evidence of emotional abuse wrought by Ariel's mother, Chrisoula Workman.
The county planned to step in and take action itself if Ariel did not remain with Gray for now, Judge Michael Levanas said at a hearing Tuesday on Gray's petition to become her sister's permanent guardian.
"They were clear that one kind of abuse occured," Levanas said, noting that Gray's claim of physical abuse was inconclusive.
The Modern Family star was removed from her mother's care earlier this month after Gray filed allegations of physical and verbal abuse with the court.
Workman has denied the allegations and a sworn declaration from Ariel's older brother, Jimmy Workman, backed up her side of the story.
"I guarantee if [the case] stays here," rather than become the jurisdiction of the DCFS, "it will get better," Judge Levanas said. He previously denied a request from Gray's camp to have the proceedings sealed.
Outside the courtroom, Jimmy told reporters that he understood they had a job to do, but he wants his family's privacy to be respected.
"Everything that has gone on through the beginning has slandered my mother. This is very sad," he said.
Ariel's father, Glenn Workman, filed an objection with the court yesterday denying Gray's allegations that he was estranged and unfit to care for Ariel. He stated that the actress belonged with her parents—and, if not with her mother, then at least with him.
Ariel's court-appointed attorney told the judge today that his client has been receiving emails from her dad but has not responded to them.
During the Oct. 3 hearing at which Gray was appointed Ariel's temporary guardian, Workman told the judge that her younger daughter was punishing her for interfering with her relationship with her boyfriend, 19-year-old Cameron Palatas. Ariel and Cameron have since split up.
Workman later stated in court documents that Gray was using her little sister to help her own acting career and had no relationship with Ariel up until several months ago.
"This is not a picture of a rebellious teenager," Gray's attorney, Mike Kretzmer, said in court today. "I think we have a very sad situation. She is doing now quite well with her sister."
A trial to determine where Ariel truly belongs has been set for Dec. 12.
Asked how she was feeling after court today, Workman told E! News, ""I love my daughter and I want my family back together—and for everyone to pray for my family."
UPDATE: A judge granted a motion filed by Workman's legal camp on Nov. 26 and ordered Gray to turn over tax records and expense and income declarations for review—a disclosure to ensure, per Workman's attorneys, that Gray is "suitable and able to provide adequate and proper care and has the financial ability."
"Getting something is a win as opposed to getting nothing," Workman lawyer Anita Gum told E! News. She says they were seeking to review the documents before Gray's scheduled deposition Dec. 4.