When you filed for divorce in a California court, you logically assumed you would face future financial obligations regarding child support and alimony. You were okay with that and really just want to work out an agreement in the swiftest, most financially feasible manner possible so you could get on with your life. The thing about child support and alimony is, however, that each state has its own guidelines to govern these processes.
If avoiding complications or contentious debates is a high priority to you, you'll want to do some research ahead of time so you know what to expect in court. Concerning alimony, the most common means of allocation is to make monthly payments. If you're worried you might miss a payment or simply don't want to have to think about it every single month, you might want to request a lump sum payment instead.