Patrick Healy, Scott Meadows
Court documents accuse the mother of "Modern Family" star Ariel Winter, 14, of physical and emotional abuse. Winter's older sister has been awarded temporary guardianship. Patrick Healy reports from Downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Nov. 8, 2012.
The mother of "Modern Family" star Ariel Winter has temporarily lost custody of the 14-year-old actress, and Winter's sister has been awarded temporary guardianship, according to court documents obtained Thursday by NBC4.
Winter's older sister, Shanelle Gray, petitioned the court in October to be appointed Winter's guardian, alleging Winter's mother, Chris Workman, was physically and emotionally abusive.
The alleged abuse described in the court filings included slapping, hitting, pushing and name-calling.
"I love my daughter very much," Chris Workman said in a statement Thursday. "I would never abuse her in any way, and I have always tried my best to always protect her and do what is right for her."
The petition also alleges Winter's father, Glenn Workman, was estranged and incapable of properly caring for a minor.
The court awarded Gray temporary guardianship on Oct. 3, pending another hearing scheduled for Nov. 20.
"It's a tougher standard if you try to get permanent guardianship," said NBC4 legal analyst Royal Oakes said. "The judge has to be convinced of solid evidence that this is really the right way to go."
No one answered the door Thursday at the Montrose home where, according to court documents, Winter had been living with her mother.
An independent attorney has been appointed to oversee Winter's interests in the case.
Attorneys handling the guardianship had sought to transfer control of the young star's earnings from an account her mother can access to a blocked account. A judge did not grant that request, but the issue could come up again at a later date.
Winter, who started acting in films and TV shows at age 7, currently plays Alex Dunphy on the hit ABC comedy.
She has appeared in several other TV shows, including "ER" and "Phineas and Ferb," as well as movies such as "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" and "Ice Age: The Meltdown."