With all due respect, the prior attorney is incorrect. Pursuant to INA 319(a) and 8 USC 1430(a), a VAWA self petitioner who obtained status as a battered spouse of a U.S. citizen may apply for naturalization after three years. The living in marital union requirement is waived.
Generally, you are eligible to apply for naturalization five years after you became a permanent resident of the U.S. You cannot take advantage of the three-year rule for persons who are married to U.S. citizens because the law requires that you be living together at the time that you submit your application for naturalization.
For additional information regarding naturalization, please see