TODAY | November 09, 2012
>> we'll begin this half hour with new details on the family drama facing one of the stars of the show "modern family." jason, good morning.
>> reporter: good morning to you, willie. 14-year-old ariel winter is part of a quirky yet loving family on her tv show but in reality the teenager has been removed from her home after allegations she was being physically and emotionally abused by her own mother .
>> i'm not giving you my design.
>> reporter: ariel winter plays alex dunphy the nerdy know it all child on the abc sitcom "modern family."
>> i made this for haley four years ago. you think this got framed? she tossed it in the garbage.
>> reporter: now her real family has been swept up in a nasty dispute. a judge removed winter from her mother after the child star and her adult sister accused their mother of abuse. in court papers filed last month they said winter has been the victim of ongoing physical abuse -- slapping, hitting, pushing, and emotional abuse -- vile name calling, personal insults about minor and minor's weight for an extended period of time. a judge granted temporary golan cipel to winter 's older sister and ordered the mother not to have any contact with her teenage daughter until a hearing scheduled for later this month. the judge is not saying that the mother abused her. the judge has made a determination that it's in the best interests of ariel to remove her from the house temporarily and giving custody to the sister until all the facts and all the evidence could come out in the case.
>> reporter: winter 's mother denies the allegations. in a statement to nbc news she says, 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. she also says her daughter's claims of abuse are a response to the mother 's disapproval of the 14-year-old's relationship with her 18-year-old boyfriend. when i caught them engaging in behavior that i feel my daughter is too young mentally and physically to understand and fully grasp i put a stop to it immediately. being a teenager in love i thought she would cry and sulk and eventually her broken heart would heal. i would never have dreamed she would take it to this level. this is not the first allegation of abuse against winter 's mother . the elder daughter also an actress made similar claims two decades ago and as a result was placed in the care of her grandmother. in workman's statement she says her older daughter has come out of the woodwork once it was announced that the kids on the show got a big raise recently. i will only say this. she has only seen her little sister maybe ten times in the last 14 years. they have no relationship and her motives are not out of love but out of spite. as for winter , she is reportedly back on the set of "modern family." sharing laughs with her fictional family awaiting the next round in this legal drama .
>> as a child star it's already difficult enough just dealing with the pressures of working in hollywood but add on a scandal like this and it's really a difficult situation.
>> reporter: we reached out to both abc and ariel 's reps. both had no comment. we should also mention according to the court documents the judge denied the request by winter 's sister for control of the child star 's earnings from the television show said to be approximately $500,000. willie?
>> jason kennedy , thank you. lisa bloom is legal analyst for avo.com and the author of parenting book "swagger." good morning.
>> good morning.
>> a lot to sort through here. on the one hand yes there are legal questions but a lot of family issues as well.
>> well, that's absolutely right. we have a young girl who is making a lot of money at the age of 14 now embedded in this family drama . should she live with her older adult sister or should she live with her mother ? temporarily the judge has said with the adult sister but generally courts want to keep families together so that is not necessarily going to be a permanent order.
>> i wonder what you think about ariel 's mother putting out a statement. she did that to us at nbc late last night talking about those charges against the 18-year-old boyfriend. the mother going public on her daughter. what do you think?
>> well, consider what is going on here. the daughter says part of the emotional abuse is my mother insults me. then the mother issues a statement essentially insulting her daughter and the other sister or you could say disclosing private facts about her daughter. i mean, is that in her daughter's best interests ? this is a young girl who is an actress, a hollywood starlet trying to make a name for herself and the mother issues this long statement saying essentially that her daughter is in an inappropriate adult relationship and also casting aspersions on the sister . i don't think that was the healthiest way to proceed.
>> she does have a right does she not to go to the police if she believes there is statutory rape happening under her own roof.
>> that is the implication, right, a 14-year-old girl in an adult relationship with an 18-year-old. of course she does. any mother has that right but she should always be acting in the best interests of the child and i don't think the judge is going to take kindly to that statement.
>> the big question here as well as money. you heard jason talking about it, assets in the range of $500,000. how safe are ariel 's assets here?
>> they're pretty safe. in california we have a law designed to protect the earnings of child stars . we don't want parents of kids who are making money in the entertainment business or any business to spend all that money so the kid turns 18 and nothing is left. the court is going to protect her money regardless of who is watching out for it.
>> such a complicated case. thanks so much for clearing it up for us.