Ariel Winter’s Sister Granted Permanent Guardianship

Posted on May 15, 2014

Ariel Winters, 16, an actress on the television show Modern Family, has been in the middle of a legal battle between her mother and sister. Recently, her sister was granted permanent guardianship.

What is a Guardianship?

In a Guardianship proceeding, the court will appoint a guardian to protect the interests of an incapacitated person.

An Incapacitated Person is a person under the age of eighteen (18) years, or an adult individual who is unable to provide food, clothing, or shelter or unable to manage their financial affairs.

A parent is always the natural Guardian of a minor. Therefore, a Guardianship of a minor is only necessary when the minor's parents are deceased or unable to care for them.

Ariel Winter’s sister alleged that their mother had subjected Ariel to physical and emotional abuse.

As legal Guardian, Ariel’s sister will have certain obligations that the court gives her. Here are a few examples of what a Guardian may be responsible for:

  • Paying the person’s bills,
  • Making decisions about and maintaining the person’s assets as a prudent investor would,
  • Ensuring the person’s medical needs are met,
  • Ensuring the person’s living needs are met,
  • Filing the proper documents in Court,
  • The list goes on…

Here are examples of what a Guardian is NOT responsible for and what the Guardian CANNOT do:

  • Prevent the person from making bad decisions and choices.
  • Not responsible for the bad decisions and choices made by the person or for illegal acts they may commit.
  • Not responsible to personally fund the person’s living expenses.
  • Not responsible for the person’s past debt.
  • Cannot force the person to take medication.
  • Cannot not personally supervise the person around the clock.
  • Cannot place the person in a mental health facility.

The Guardianship is in effect until Ariel turns 18 years old, in 2016.

Learn more about Guardianships in Texas here or -

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Lori Ashmore Peters
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