Quite interesting really no responses - how does a woman in her fifties after giving up her successful career, dedicating her life to raising a family mutually agreed - working part time as the children grew up, then to be told after instigating proceedings - get a full time job/additional job - and still work around a 12 year olds needs
The only suggestion I have is perhaps studying to do something that really appeals to you. You could get a student loan and claim spousal maintenance while you study/find appropriate work.
Is there a university near you that you could look at?
It would shoe willing, give you a new opportunity in.life - and mean you can demonstrate a clear need for sm.
Don't let age be a barrier to starting again. Take your time and do your research. We've all taken jobs that we don't want due to needs. You've been forced into taking the plunge and so why not see it as an opportunity, I'm sure you could do whatever you put your mind to. I have to say the experiences we are all going though change our outlook and our perspective on many things. So take a step back and follow your dream.
I work in the education sector and see plenty of housewives who have grown up children coming back to education, not just for more money, better job prospects, but also to do something for them selves. What you do is entirely up to you, based on your particular interests, skills and background. I see many women return to education to study things like Social Work, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Psychology, Teaching... (sorry this info is based on mature student stats and not me being sexist). But you could study whatever you wanted.
Like Hadenoughnow says look at local uni's and colleges or even distance learning options - the OU has some great courses. There is plenty of support and help in place for mature learners in university.
Whatever you choose, make sure there is demand. Also, there may be things like bursaries available depending on what you choose. I think they have incentives for teaching and they used to for NHS (not sure if this is still the case though).
What a great example to your children you are in adopting such a positive approach to an uncertain future. Reinventing yourself can be scary, but I did it and so have many wikis who completed training and degrees whilst going through divorce. Some have found careers in counselling after their experiences. The latest I know of has qualified in alternative therapy and is now setting up a practice. So it can be done.
A good place to start may be to give your cv a 'facelift' and identify your strengths. Think about your wider skills and not just those gained from working in the bank and your part time job. Think about those gained from being a Mum, bringing up your children and running a home. What about skills gained from hobbies and other interests, e.g. the gym, arts and crafts? Could you make a career from something you already do and enjoy?
Think what you'd like to be doing in say 5 years time and make a list of what you need to do to get there.
As Had says, check out any grants available. You still have two children under age 18, so retraining will have to be close by and work for your family's needs too.
Are any of your skills transferable? You may not want to work in a bank again, but can you see yourself being a school bursar for example? That way you would be using your skills in dealing with young people and in organisation in addition to your professional skills, but in a totally different environment. Being mature and having life experience is a plus in many jobs. We certainly have a lot of experience of solving problems and dealing with challenges!
Do you have any friends and contacts, whose advice you value, working in an area that interests you? Maybe have a chat with them.
Whatever you decide to do, focus on something you enjoy but will help pay the bills. Wishing you great success in taking this momentous step.