CARSON CITY — Court records show Gov. Jim Gibbons did not want to pay his first wife, Toy, any alimony and accused her of selling off community property without his permission before their divorce in 1983.
As in the divorce Gibbons now seeks from his second wife, Dawn, the governor contended that “incompatibility in marriage” led to his first divorce, according to documents in the Washoe County clerk’s office. In both instances, Gibbons filed for divorce from his wife only days after he moved out of their home.
At the time of his first divorce, Gibbons was a lawyer and a Delta Airlines pilot who lived in Reno.
Toy Gibbons, who married him in 1966, was a stay-at-home mother with no independent source of income.
When Gibbons filed for divorce in 1982, their son, Christopher, was 6 and their daughter, Jennifer, was 3.
Although Gibbons received judicial approval to have records in his second divorce sealed and the divorce trial conducted in private, he made no attempt to seal anything in his first divorce.
Jim married Dawn, who also had previously been married, in 1986.
During the legislative session last year, the Legislature’s seven Mormons presented Gibbons with a book of scripture in honoring him as the state’s first Mormon governor.
Although raised as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gibbons said at the time he was a non-observant Mormon. He said he sometimes attended Presbyterian Church services with his wife, Dawn.
The Mormon Church frowns upon divorce, though in a 1998 book on Latter-day Saints, author James T. Duke said 30 percent of Mormons not married in the church’s temples are divorced. Only 5 percent of Mormons married in the church’s temples are divorced.
Neither of Gibbons’ marriages were temple marriages.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches the sanctity of marriage and the happiness which comes from the family as the central unit of society,” said Ashley Hall, head of public affairs for the church in Las Vegas. “However, divorce does happen and in some cases is justified. As a religious faith, we believe the remedy for most marital stress is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Records indicate Gibbons’ first divorce was routine. The most unusual event was that Gibbons received a temporary restraining order to prevent his wife from selling off community property.
He alleged she had sold antique chairs, silverware, a stereo system, a breakfast table and numerous other items without his permission.
Toy Gibbons, however, contended that Gibbons had given her permission to sell items and that she did so to cover her living expenses.
Divorce records show Gibbons married his first wife on April 9, 1966, when Gibbons was 21.
District Judge William Forman granted the divorce 17 months after Gibbons first sought it.
Forman earlier had ordered Gibbons and his wife to go to counseling in an effort to avoid the split.
Gibbons paid Dr. Robert Whittemore, the father of Coyote Springs developer and Reno lawyer Harvey Whittemore, $200 for the five counseling sessions.
The judge ordered Gibbons to pay Toy Gibbons $600 a month in alimony, payments that ended in 1985.
Toy Gibbons, in a countersuit, had requested that Gibbons pay her $1,300 a month in support.
The judge also ordered him to pay her $2,000 to cover expenses related to completing her college education.
Gibbons also paid $250 a month in child support for each child. That support increased to $350 in 1986 and ended when the children turned 18.
His ex-spouse also agreed to give Gibbons “liberal rights of visitation” with the children “upon reasonable notice.” Although Gibbons received joint legal custody of the children, actual physical custody remained with their mother.
In dividing up community property, the future governor received the couple’s 1970 Porsche 911, while his spouse received their 1978 Oldsmobile.
Attempts to contact Toy Gibbons were unsuccessful.