'Modern Fam' Star Julie Bowen Time to Pick Sides in Ariel Winter Custody War

1/7/2013 7:45 AM PST

'Modern Family' Star Julie Bowen -- Time to Pick Sides in Ariel Winter Custody War


3:00 PM PT -- Sources directly connected with the cast and crew at "Modern Family" tell TMZ ... they're upset by the intimation that Julie is not supporting Ariel's current arrangement -- living with her sister.  We're told "the entire show" is behind the temporary guardianship and believes Ariel is better off.

The TMZ newsroom is DIVIDED!!!! And it's all over this clip of "Modern Family" star Julie Bowen commenting about the guardianship surrounding her co-star Ariel Winter.

Here's the deal -- Bowen was leaving a Golden Globes party in Hollywood last night when we asked if she was happy Ariel was removed from the custody of her mom and placed with her older sister.

Bowen's response was interesting ... "Ummmmmmm ... if she's happier, then I'm happier."

It wasn't a hard "yes" ... but it wasn't a "no" either.

Some people in the newsroom (Harvey) think the answer shows Julie believes Ariel's allegations that her mom was abusive ... and believes she's better off with her older sister.

But other people in the newsroom (everyone else) ... thinks the way Julie made the comment shows she DOESN'T think Ariel's better off ... and gave a politically correct, vanilla response to avoid revealing how she truly feels.

Listen to how Julie says it.  Then, we gotta ask ...