Ariel Winter is officially an emancipated minor, the
"I am now officially emancipated!!! I'm really lucky I have an amazing support system and lovely people in my life who have given me the support and guidance to have been given this wonderful opportunity," the 17-year-old wrote.
Under the terms of emancipation in California, Winter is no longer under the control or custody of her parents or guardians and must support herself despite being under age 18. (She'll turn 18 in January).
Winter, full name Ariel Winter Workman, no longer needs parental permission to get medical care, apply for a work permit or sign up for school or college, and she can now live wherever she wants.
The actress plays sarcastic bookworm Alex Dunphy on the critically acclaimed "Modern Family" sitcom, but her real-life family troubles were a far-cry from the zany shenanigans of the ABC series.
The young star had been estranged from her mother since 2012 and was removed from her custody after allegations of physical and emotional abuse. Winter's adult sister, Shanelle Gray, struck a custody deal in December 2012 that allowed Winter to continue living with her and put her father, Glenn Workman, in charge of her finances. In 2014, Gray was named her sister's permanent guardian.
While those issues played out in the courtroom, Winter focused on the positive aspects and thanked her sister and father for their "special support" through the years-long battle against her mother.
"I really couldn't have done it without them," she wrote, adding, "Thank you to all of my family, friends, and fans who have supported me through all of my endeavors in life, and have encouraged me. Thank you for making my life so special! I can't wait to embark on my new adventures."
Aside from her legal troubles, Winter partook in a major teenage rite of passage late last month: prom.
On Sunday, the teen also gave a lengthy Mother's Day shout-out to her sister for fulfilling her maternal role.
"I love you more than words can even describe and I'm so lucky to have you as my sister. You're an amazing mother, an amazing sister, and an amazing wife, among many other things," she wrote on Instagram. "It's incredible to me how you can be such a successful business woman, such an amazing mother to your kids, and also be my best friend. You are my inspiration. I'm so thankful for everything you've done for me and for everything you've helped me accomplish. Without your love and support I wouldn't have become the person I am today."