In California Does it Matter Who Files for Divorce First? No!.... Since California is a no-fault State for divorce actions most divorce attorneys agree there is no advantage to file first. The first to file is called Petitioner and the other is Respondent. At trial usually the Petitioner will put on their case first and have last say at closing argument.
1.) If property is in danger of being unilaterally depleted by one party, a divorce filing puts into effect automatic temporary restraining orders more commonly known as ATROS. ATROS are standing mutual court orders to both parties that become effective upon service of the summons in a dissolution and remain in effect until judgment. They are found in California Family Code Section 2040 and are summarized on the back of the divorce summons.
2.) If you live in different counties then filing first likely will keep the case near you negating the need to travel for every court hearing or trial. 3.) If you live in different States you likely will litigate in California. There are many exceptions to this but understanding the options is certainly helpful.