It is a common misconception that monthly payments are the only way to pay spousal support, or "alimony," but this is not the case. You can also give a lump sum. Keep in mind that your ex-spouse must agree to this arrangement, if he or she refuses, then you must figure out another payment plan.
A spousal support payment is a monthly reminder of your marriage. A lump sum allows you to "rip the Band-Aid off" so-to-speak, such that you can fully move on to the next phase of your life. Moreover, there are big consequences if you miss one of your payments. A monthly payment means that you have 12 opportunities a year to miss a payment and possibly risk sanctions, or worse.
There are several things to consider. The most obvious factor is you need to have the cash together to make the payment. You won't get to save money on a lump sum. The court will make you calculate out how much support you would have to pay over X number of years, and that is the lump sum. Depending upon how long your marriage was, the disparity of income and the many other factors that courts consider, this amount could run into the tens or possibly hundreds of thousands.
If you or a loved one is considering divorce or going through a divorce, then you may want to consult with a family law attorney. Divorce can be a legally complex and expensive endeavor. It is particularly true when it concerns alimony, which can implicate years of your income down the road. Taking the time to research these issues can save you significant income down the road.