A woman can legally go back to her maiden name at any time if she did not legally change her name when she got married, according to Legal Central. In many cases, the marriage certificate is simply used as proof to change the name on vital documents.
Without a legal name change, the woman is still entitled to use her maiden name even if she is married, notes Legal Central. If she has legally changed her last name to her husband's and a divorce is about to be filed or in process, the simplest way to effect the name change is to request it in the divorce pleadings. If the name change is being made after a divorce, she will need to file for a name change with the appropriate court in her area.